Judo is now part of the compulsory Universiade programme, and will undoubtedly be among the stars of the show in the future.
Judo got off to a brilliant start at the Universiades. With 67 countries and 376 contestants (219 men and 157 women), it was among the most popular sports on the compulsory programme. There was some fear that participation would suffer from the upcoming world championships scheduled for September in Rio, but the timetable did not seem to have a major influence, although the very best were often absent. Many countries consequently sent their budding stars to give them a chance to get their first taste of international competition.
The matches were fought at a very high level throughout the tournament, showing the participants’ excellent preparation. Unfortunately, the sport is becoming less spectacular with the new rules for arbitration that are much more forgiving with poor judo.
As concerns the overall results, Japan succeeded in giving an impressive performance winning 12 medals (9 gold, 3 bronze) and rising to the top of university judo.
Korea took 12 medals too (2 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze) confirming its second place behind the Land of the Rising Sun. China, with two gold medals, bested France that came in fourth with six (only 1 gold, plus 3 silver and 2 bronze). France was rather unconvincing in the individual meets, but caught up in the team tournament where it came in 2nd behind an unbeatable Japan. The same countries, Japan and France, played off both team finals. Nevertheless, we must say that France was unable to maintain the level of the Suwon championships in December 2006 when it came in at the top. The future will no doubt offer many chances to upset the ranks of the medalwinning countries, although it won’t be easy to do. More and more countries shared the medals – a new record. All countries are better prepared, which means that performances are constantly improving; the idea of “little countries” belongs to the past.
University meets have become a major objective for judokas all over the world. For individual results, there were three particularly remarkable performances. First of all, that of Takamasa Anai (JPN), gold medal winner for -100 kg. He overwhelmed the category, winning every match by ippon. The second performance was given by Sayaka Anai (JPN), gold medal winner for -78 kg, who was just as effective in dominating her opponents. Both of them competed exceptionally – never before did a brother and sister triumph at this level. Thirdly, our congratulations go to Frank Moussima Ewane (CAM), silver medal winner for -100 kg. Africa is beginning to show its stuff on an international scale thanks to judokas with his talent. His performance is even more praiseworthy in that he was on a delegation that benefited from a FISU invitation in the programme of aid to developing countries. His performance and his behaviour were exemplary and a strong encouragement to cont i nue this policy.
Judo is now part of the compulsory programme for the Universiades, and it will no doubt be one of the star disciplines in the future.
This is a major advantage for the future of Judo in general, which would not have been possible without the effective, exemplary collaboration between FISU and the International Judo Fede ration (FIJ) since 1992. We take this opportunity to thank the FIJ Sports Director, Francois Besson, who was one of the main supporters of the importance of University Judo within FIJ.
Judo has been popular in Japanese and European universities for a long time now and it reaches top level in meets between students all over the world.
We meet again at the next Universiades 2009 in Belgrade whe re our Serbian friends will give University Judo another chance to shine.