2018 in Review: Judo

Highlights of the sport throughout the year

a male South Korean judoka punches the air after throwing his opponent to the ground South Korean judokas ruled the 2018 Worlds, taking home five golds © • Rui Telmo

With both the World Championships and the Asian Para Games, 2018 was certainly a year to remember for judo. Here are five of the key moments.

South Korean dominance

It was a fantastic year for South Korean judokas.

They were in unstoppable form as they topped the medals table of the 2018 World Championships in Odivelas, Portugal, after winning a total of seven medals, including five golds.

Soohee Choi sprang the biggest individual surprise as she became the women’s up to 48kg world champion after beating two Paralympic champions in China’s Li Liqing and France’s Sandrine Martinet on her way to the final.

South Korea also took both team event titles on offer.

Champions beaten

Li and Martinet were not the only candidates for gold who were defeated at Odivelas 2018.

Azerbaijan's world and Paralympic champion Ramil Gasimov lost to Uzbekistan’s debutant Feruz Sayidov in the men’s up to 73kg and had to settle for bronze.

Sayidov’s compatriot and Paralympic champion Sherzod Namozov was dramatically eliminated in the early stages of the men’s up to 60kg.

Dream debut at Asian Para Games

Ehsan Mousanezhad Karmozdi used to be a powerlifter but decided to switch sports in 2017.

Despite his little time practising the new sport, the Iranian judoka reached the men’s up to 100kg final against reigning Paralympic champion Choi Gwang Geun in Jakarta. And Karmozdi won in one of the biggest shocks of the Games.

Gagne celebrates on home soil

With a record of three wins and no losses, Canadian Priscilla Gagne won the Pan American Championships title in the women’s up to 52kg at home in Calgary. Her compatriot Justin Karn also topped the podium in the men’s up to 60kg.

“I’m very happy! It was so exciting because Justin also won gold. It was really incredible!” said Gagne.

Record-breaking Worlds

A total of 268 judokas from 42 countries competed in 13 individual and two team events over three days in Odivelas. Journalists and broadcasters from all over the world came to cover the competition, including Japan, Ukraine, Great Britain, Poland and France. Their attendance made it the most covered Worlds in the history of the sport.