Niizoe Saki and Luka Maisuradze overcame their opponents in a furious contest to make their countries proud.
Qatar has recently hosted big world sports events, and this has been further cemented by the IJF holding their flagship event, the World Judo Championships, in Doha.
Combining the culture from the region with the gentle art of Japanese Judo, this is more than just a sporting event.
Broadcast to audiences all around the world, no event is complete without the enthusiasm of the next generation, who packed the stadium on the 5th day of the Worlds.
Niizoe Saki of Japan came to Doha to earn her red backpatch. En route to the final, she came up against one former and also the reigning World Champion, not an easy day.
Germany’s Giovanna Scoccimarro was on top form throughout the preliminaries, scoring her way into her first World final at seniors level.
In the final, Niizoe’s superior experience came through as she threw for waza-ari and held her way to the World title, improving on her 2022 bronze medal. Cheered on by her fans, she was overcome with emotion.
World Judo Championships Doha 2023 Media & Broadcasting Director, Sheikh Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, awarded the medals.
“I’m really happy and I expected to win in ne-waza so that’s what brought on my tears of joy,” said Niizoe.
Lasha Bekauri was looking to add the title of world champion to his Olympic title from Tokyo. He threw all day long with true Georgian passion to secure his place in the final.
His Georgian teammate Maisuradze was there to improve on his two World bronzes by taking home the red backpatch and proving that he is top of the category. Delivering excellent technique all morning, he earned his place in the final.
So an all Georgian final at under 90 Kg, and it was Maisuradze who came out on top. Emotional fans in the crowd cheered his name as he was crowned World Champion.
He and Bekauri, undoubtedly the kings of their category, displayed true judo values in their respect for one another.
His medal was awarded by IJF Vice President, Mr Obaid AL ANZI, in front of a passionate crowd.
“When I heard my name announced as world champion, wow, I need time to soak it in, to realise what happened here and what I did. Doha is a fantastic place, and I will never forget this place and these emotions. Never ever,” said Luka Maisuradze.
Tomorrow, two more World Champions will be crowned at under 100 and under 78 Kg.