Russia play host to the World Judo Championships for the first time in their history, staging the indoor event for the first time as an independent body.
Participating nations may nominate a total of 18 judokas to compete in 14 weight classes—seven men and seven women—for the right to contest for medal glory and the prize fund that comes with it.
Here's the remaining schedule following Friday's action, followed by prize money details and a full rundown of all the latest results:
|Judo World Championships Schedule|
|Event Date||Start Time||Event Details|
|August 30||6 a.m. BST/1 a.m. ET||Men −100 kg|
|Men −100 kg|
|Women −78 kg|
|August 31||5 a.m. BST/12 a.m. ET||Men's Team|
The prizes up for grabs differ depending on medal placement, with individual winners of gold, silver and bronze taking sums of $6,000, $4,000 and $2,000, respectively.
Winners in the team competitions, meanwhile, compete for a grand prize of $25,000, while second and third claim $15,000 and $5,000, respectively.
Sunday, Aug. 31 Results
This year's World Judo Championships were brought to a close with France winning their third gold medal of the 2014 tournament. Their women's team beat Mongolia's staunch efforts in the final.
The European Judo Union revealed the Europeans' victory over Twitter, which brings the nation's overall medal tally up to eight, just shy of competition winners Japan:
French international rugby player Thierry Dusautoir was quick to heap praise on his compatriots for their efforts at the last hurdle:
In the end, though, Japan successfully defended their 2013 title and rounded off this year's competition with 11 medals to their name in total, including the final men's team award.
Their triumph over the men's Russian team left the hosts settling for silver, while it was the fifth gold of Japan's visit to Eastern Europe this year.
Germany claimed bronze in both gender pools. The men's team triumphed over Kazakhstan in their repechage final after the women's line-up got the best of their Polish counterparts in the duplicate matchup, per the International Judo Federation:
The other bronzes were awarded to Georgia and Japan in the male and female disciplines, respectively, with the Japanese preventing host country Russia from claiming a medal at the last chance in front of the Chelyabinsk crowd.
Holding the overall World Judo Championships medal record with 276 under their belt, Japan once again emerged as deserving victors in Chelyabinsk, with France taking second and Brazil and Cuba sharing third.
Saturday, Aug. 30 Results
Individual matters came to a head on Saturday when the biggest bruisers of this year's competition were rolled out with the men's half-heavyweight, men's heavyweight and women's heavyweight disciplines.
And just as matters came to a head on Day 6, it was also a terrific coming-full-circle for Czech 100 kilogram athlete Lukas Krpalek, who, after settling for bronze in 2011 and 2013, finally claimed the highest honour, per the International Judo Federation:
He beat silver medallist Jose Armenteros of Cuba in ne-waza, while the bronze awards were handed to Ivan Remarenco of the United Arab Emirates and Karl-Richard Frey of Germany.
Moving to the women's heavyweight category, Cuba were once again present thanks to Idalys Ortiz, and she was able to go one better than her male counterpart, with the European Judo Union confirming her victory over Brazil's Maria Suelen Altheman:
Germany had two entries in the repechage finals and could have claimed both third place runners-up prizes with Franziska Konitz and Jasmin Kuelbs.
However, neither of that pair was able to turn her appearance into a medal, with Konitz beaten by France's Emilie Andeol and Megumi Tachimoto of Japan getting the better of Kuelbs.
These medal finishes are almost identical to those of 2013, the only difference being that South Korea's Lee Jung-Eun took bronze instead of Andeol last year.
Teddy Riner fended off the challenge of his 2013 final opponent, Rafael Silva, with an ippon in his men's heavyweight semi-final, going on to win gold for France, with Japan's Ryu Shichinohe settling for silver.
This was Riner's seventh World Championships gold medal, the 6'8" Goliath continuing his sensational run since turning professional seven years ago:
Bronze medals were awarded to Brazil's Silva and Renat Saidov, the latter of whom fell victim to eventual champion Riner in the pool stage.
Saidov's victory gives Russia a medal to finish off their campaign at the very least, with Sunday's team events the last scheduled in Chelyabinsk.
Friday, Aug. 29 Results
The fifth day of the 2014 Judo World Championships threw up some surprises. Those were most evident in the women's events.
In the 70 kg tournament, Colombian Yuri Alvear ensured rare South American dominance over the Russian and Asian competitors. Alvear's win continued the theme set in the 78 kg event.
That's where Brazilian Mayra Aguiar dominated the field. Her efforts were also aided by seeing defending champion Sol Kyong dispatched. French judoka Audrey Tcheumeo earned the notable victory in the semi-final.
Things went from bad to worse for Kyong when she met Anamari Velensek for the bronze medal. The Slovenian beat Kyong by gaining Yuko after locking her illustrious opponent on the mat.
Earlier in the day, a potential new star of Judo had emerged in the men's 90 kg event. Hungarian Krisztian Toth, just 20, captured silver:
Toth suffered no indignity when he was bested by Ilias Iliadis in the final. The Greek judoka ensured his gold medal with a soto-maki-komi to earn ippon, per the European Judo Union official Twitter feed.
The move, involving locking and dragging one arm as the judoka in control dips a hip, was superbly executed by Iliadis and merited a full point. It was a fitting way for him to cap a brilliant tournament performance and collect the $6,000 prize money.
Here are the medal winners from Day 5's events:
|Day 5's Events and Medal Winners|
|Men's 90 kg||Ilias Iliadis (Greece)||Krisztian Toth (Hungary)||Varlam Liparteliani (Georgia)|
|Women's 70 kg||Yuri Alvear (Colombia)||Karen Nun-Ira (Japan)||Onix Cortes Aldama (Cuba)|
|Women's 78 kg||Mayra Aguiar (Brazil)||Audrey Tcheumeo (France)||Kayla Harrison (USA)|
The final day of the tournament will see the team event take place. It's becoming a popular riff on the traditional one-on-one formula.
Thursday, Aug. 28 Results
After Japan's dominance on Wednesday, it was time for the European nations to shine on Thursday, as France's Clarisse Agbegnenou and Georgia's Avtandil Tchrikishvili took the gold in the women's 63kg and the men's 81kg, respectively.
21-year-old Agbegnenou was one of the favourites coming into the tournament after winning silver at the World Finals in Rio last year, and she got her revenge on Israel's Yarden Gerbi in the final in 2014.
The event's Twitter feed congratulated the French athlete:
Gerbi beat her much-younger challenger to the gold 12 months ago, but Agbegnenou has only grown in strength since then, and that was on full display on Thursday. Speaking to Jerusalem Online's Gal Cohen, Gerbi expressed frustration at the loss, saying, "She just got ahead of me, it's annoying and irritating."
The French youngster took the lead through yuko within the opening 30 seconds, and with Gerbi forced to take plenty of risks to make up the deficit, she opened herself up to a powerful throw, leading to ippon.
Agbegnenou had difficulty fighting back tears when she spoke to World Judo Day:
I am so emotional tonight, it’s not me. I have the impression that I have to fight tomorrow and that this day is unreal. I was the favourite but I didn’t feel that way. There is only one to go on the top of the podium. I didn’t want any other colour of medal. It is beautiful, a great victory and yes it is a great revenge, but that is sport. I didn’t expect to see Yarden in the final as she had a difficult year but I am happy that we met again and that this time I won.
Tchrikishvili became only the second male Georgian athlete to win gold at the World Judo Championships, and he nearly missed out on doing so. Losing by yuko midway through his semi-final against Alain Schmitt, he needed four penalties to book his ticket to the final.
Antoine Valois-Fortier couldn't handle the powerful Georgian in the final, however, as shared by the event's Twitter account:
A massive ura-nage nearly ended the final prematurely, but Valois-Fortier didn't land cleanly and only gave up waza-ari. Tchrikishvili displayed a lot of maturity for the remainder of the final, however, and comfortably kept his lead.
Three finals are on the schedule for Friday's action: the women's 70kg and 78kg and the men's 90kg. Japan still hold a comfortable lead atop the medal standings, but after Thursday's round of finals, the Europeans are gaining fast.
Wednesday, Aug. 27 Results
Day 3 of the Judo World Championship was one that belonged to the Japanese, with the nation reigning supreme on another dramatic day in Russia.
The men’s 73kg and the women’s 57kg took centre stage on Wednesday, with Japan’s Riki Nakaya and Nae Udaka taking the respective titles, though it’s safe to say that they did so against the odds.
With top Japanese athletes Matsumoto Kaori and Shohei Ono falling at the preliminary stage, the odds were stacked against Japan taking any golds—but they ended up coming away with a clean sweep.
First up was Udaka, who followed on from her Tokyo Grand Slam victory by claiming the world title in the 57kg category.
Up against Portugal’s Telma Monteiro in the final, Udaka looked dominant from the first second in her final, finding her way to victory by ippon.
Such a performance delighted the Russian crowd, as Udaka claimed her first ever medal at the world championships—per European Judo Union:
While Udaka has had no problems winning on home soil, the world title is one that’s eluded her for many years, but not anymore—and deservedly so.
Speaking after her victory, the 29-year-old reflected on a fantastic day, but wants to draw inspiration from Kaori and stay at the top of the world for years to come—per World Judo Today:
Matsumoto Kaori is very popular in Japan and everybody was waiting for her to be the world champion here in Russia. I wanted to do my judo, to enjoy fight after fight and to do my best. This is the title that I wanted but it is not my final goal. I want to reach the level of Matsumoto. Until now, I was only able to win in Japan. Now I know that I can also win abroad.
The jubilation of Udaka as the title-winning feeling hit her was refreshing to see, but spare a thought for Monteiro.
The Portuguese star succumbed to her fourth world final defeat on Wednesday, but such is the optimism on Monteiro that she’ll only come back stronger.
Meanwhile, in the men’s 73kg category, Nakaya returned to the top of the world three years after claiming his first title—as WorldJudo2014 revealed:
The 25-year-old had a tough-looking final against Kuk Hyon Hong to negotiate his way through, but did so brilliantly with just over a minute-and-a-half remaining on the clock.
The ko-uch-gari that earned ippon and the gold medal was nothing short of sublime, and Nakaya revealed after his fight that he’s in better shape than ever—per World Judo Today:
Three years ago I was world champion in Paris. But since then, I was not able to find again my sensations and my best judo even if I got the silver at the Olympics. So it took me three years to be back on the top of the podium. Last year I lost in the quarter final, but this morning I was really confident and felt stronger and stronger throughout the day.
Day 4 sees the men’s 81kg and the women’s 63kg titles go up for grabs, and Japan will once again be looking for more glory.
With four gold medals to their name already, the Japanese are looking favourites to top the medal table at the end of the world championships, and with performances like Wednesday’s, it’s not difficult to see why.
Tuesday, Aug. 26 Results
Day two of the 2014 World Judo Championships saw the home crowds wowed by the performance of domestic judoka Mikhail Pulyaev.
He reached the semi-final of the Men's 66kg event. Once in the final four, Pulyaev really stirred patriotic feeling among the crowd when he bested Japan's Kengo Takaichi.
Pulyaev made his decisive move late on with some effective counter technique:
That thrilling victory at least ensured Pulyaev $4,000 in prize money and the silver medal. However, they would have to be his only consolations, as the Russian was unfortunate enough to run into the dominant Masashi Ebinuma in the final.
The current World Champion had easily outfought and out-thought the competition en route to the semi-final stage:
Despite his impressive progress, Ebinuma's semi-final proved more challenging than Pulyaev's. He met Frenchman Loic Korval.
Korval was stubborn and game, but ultimately couldn't match moves with a masterful Ebinuma. Korval incurred a Shido, or light penalty, because he quite literally couldn't get to grips with Ebinuma to even try any kind of throw or basic Nage-Waza.
Ebinuma's form continued in the final, and although the home crowd were disappointed to see Pulyaev beaten, they couldn't deny Ebinuma had merited the gold, his third world championship victory.
If the spectators at Chelyabinsk were let down by the final, they were certainly thrilled when Pulyaev's countryman Kamal Khan-Magomedov earned bronze. He pushed Kroval aside to earn third place, after Yuko was declared, to ensure two medal winners in this weight class.
The other main event of the Championships' second day was the Women's under 52 kg tournament. Just as Ebinuma asserted himself as defending champion in the men's event, the current ruling power also held sway in the women's class.
That meant that Majlinda Kelmendi, representing the International Judo Federation (IJF), retained her championship. Her victim in the final was Romanian Andreea Chitu:
Once again though, the home crowd was treated to another Russian judoka at least earning medal honours. In this case, that distinction went to Natalia Kuziutina.
She got the better of Yingnan Ma to take home the bronze:
Day 3's events see the weight classes increase for both genders. The Men's 73 kg and Women's 57 kg tournaments will take place.
In the latter event, Brazilian Rafaela Silva may struggle to overcome Japan's Kaori Matsumoto, per WorldJudoToday.com:
The images of Rafaela SILVA (BRA) emotionally falling to her knees after becoming the first Brazilian woman to win world judo gold were as powerful as they were indicative of countries breaking new ground as the 14 gold medals were shared by 10 countries. MATSUMOTO and SILVA have clashed on four occasions and the Japanese star leads their head-to-head serious with three victories.
Meanwhile in the men's event, all attention will be on current world champion Shohei Ono of Japan. He's been identified as a favourite alongside countryman Riki Nakaya.
Monday, Aug. 25 Results
The opening day of competition saw the extra lightweight category take centre stage—60 kilograms for the men and a 48-kilogram limit for the women.
And it was the latter whose fate would be decided first, with the European Judo Union confirming Japan's Kondo Ami as the world champion in her weight class, triumphing over runner-up Paula Pareto:
The two bronzes were awarded to Amandine Buchard of France, who beat Alesya Kuznetsova with yuko from uchi-mata, while Cuban Maria Laborde took the other third-place prize after getting the better of international team-mate Dayaris Mestre Alvarez:
Reigning men's extra lightweight world champion Naohisa Takato was made to settle for bronze at this year's championships, falling to Beslan Mudranov at the semi-final stage.
Despite the support of a home crowd, Mudranov would only take silver as Mongolian Boldbaatar Ganbat succeeded where compatriot Dashdavaagiin Amartuvshin could not 12 months ago, taking the top honour as his own:
Amiran Papinashvili of Georgia threw Artiom Arshansky with a wazari to claim the other bronze medal, clinching his result with just 10 seconds of the repechage encounter left.
The action picks back up on Tuesday as both genders move into the half-lightweight category, and audiences can only hope the entertainment increases in kind.