Judo Championships Conclude with Spectacular Success

By Akhila Chungath and Callum Bruchett

Judo made its first appearance in the Global Games competition at the state-of-the-art CREPS Double Hall, at the Vichy 2023, which saw the climax final rounds of competition before the medal ceremony.

The morning session began with brilliant displays of skill from numerous athletes, opening up Skye Westwood (GBR) lighting up the competition in her fight with Laurette Ruet (FRA) producing a brilliant throw for ten points and the win.

Yamazaki Mae (JPN) emerged victorious clinching the gold medal. She had challenging opponents such as World and 2 x European ID Champion Skye Westwood and World Champion and European ID bronze medallist McDermott. Yamazaki’s triumph highlights her exceptional skill and resilience, cementing her status as a rising star in the world of judo.

Michael Lomas of Great Britain produced a composed performance to overcome Jurgen van der Heijden of the Netherlands in his final match of the competition. Jonathan Brunin (BEL) debuted at the games dominating the mens +100kgs II1 category in a defining moment, expertly capitalizing on an opening created by Dion Sassen (NED).

The afternoon session began at 2:30 pm and with some immense Judo on show. Idris Khan (GBR) kicked off proceedings with a fantastic throw of Ori Roffe (ISR), before by far the best matchup of the afternoon and indeed the day, between Liam Hudson (AUS) and M Dergham (FRA) taking the contest into extra time, Hudson eventually came out on top after a bruising and exhilarating display from both athletes.

Copyright: Virtus and GG2023. Photo credit: Geoffrey Wahlen

The culmination of the day came with the semi-finals and finals of each weight category. Josh Hodkinson (GBR) triumphed in his category over his team mate Tom Mawdsley in an exhilarating final match showdown on the tatami.

Antonin Valmy of France emerged victorious over Josip Krznaric from Croatia in a thrilling -60kg men’s category final. Valmy’s quick thinking and execution of a haraigoshi technique as a counter to Krznaric’s osotogari attempt seconds into the match resulted in an ippon, securing the gold medal for France.

Marcin Liszcz (POL) emerges as the champion in the II2 -73kg men’s category, defeating both German opponents Ben Musaeus and Valentin Freitag

Lesley Ijzerman’s triumph over Joshua Hughes in the -72kg category (II1) marked a significant milestone for the Netherlands in the tournament, as it secured their first gold medal in judo. Ijzerman’s exceptional performance not only brought glory to himself but also brought pride and excitement to the Dutch team and fans.

Victor Gdowczok (GER) emerged victorious in the – 81kg category against Adam Wiśniewski from Poland. Gdowczok’s journey in judo began at the age of 8, and this showed as his hard work and dedication paid off as he secured the win, showcasing his long-standing commitment and passion for judo.

Stuart Jackman, representing Great Britain, etched his name into Virtus Judo history with an awe-inspiring performance, as he emerged victorious against Jasper Holtackers from the Netherlands. The win comes as a beacon of hope for Jackman, who had experienced disappointment due to the cancellation of the Virtus European Championships.

Ifeanyi Oguejiofor (FRA) demonstrated his skills to exceptional heights making light work of his opponents and winning all his contests by ippon with style and precision in his category to claim his title. Above all else, the respect and the practice of Judo tradition on show, from each and every athlete and coach right from the first fight through to the evening medal ceremony, made for a brilliantly entertaining and thoroughly respectful day.

Copyright: Virtus and GG2023. Photo credit: Geoffrey Wahlen

The level of judo was inspiring and of an exceptional standard to showcase the achievements of all athletes competing. This is a great milestone for adaptive judo at international level. The future is bright and with the continued support of the international judo community we will take our place on the world circuit”, says Kerry Tansey, Virtus Judo Director.

Above all else, the respect and the practice of Judo tradition on show, from each and every athlete and coach right from the first fight through to the evening medal ceremony, made for a brilliantly entertaining and thoroughly respectful day.