International Judo Federation (IJF) head sport director Vladimir Barta believes the 2015 World Judo Championships has shown the increasing standard of competition.
Despite there being 14 weight categories contested at the Championships across the men’s and women’s events, only France’s Teddy Riner proved able to successful defend the title he won at the 2014 edition of the IJF’s flagship event.
Barta therefore believes the difficulties the defending champions had in Kazakhstan’s capital city Astana last month from August 24 to 30 shows the strength in depth in every weight division as the sport builds towards Rio 2016.
When Olympic and world champions don’t have the guarantee to even step on the podium, this proves that our sport is in good shape and that we have many generations of champions and future great champions,” he said.
“It was hard for everybody in Astana.
“When you have so much potential medallists, even the big countries have difficulties.”
While Japan ended the Championships comfortably top of the medals table having secured eight gold, four silver and five bronze medals, 24 nations left Astana having seen their judokas step onto the podium in either individual competitions or in the two team events.
Slovenia were one of the nations to enjoy success as Tina Trstenjak earned the country’s first ever gold at the Championships, after living up to her status as the world number one in the women’s under 63 kilogram division by beating France’s Clarisse Agbegnenou in the final.
Additionally Trstenjak’s team mate Anamari Velenšek claimed silver in the women’s under 78kg event and Barta believes that other countries could learn from the European nation.
“I want to underline the performance of Slovenia,” he said.
“Even if it’s a so called small country, they have a real judo system and they regularly bring new champions.
“This is a good example for many countries."
August 2015: Japan claim team event golds on final day of 2015 World Judo Championships in Astana
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August 2015: Record-breaker Riner wins eighth world title as individual events end at 2015 World Judo Championships
August 2015: Mami Umeki continues Japanese success at 2015 World Judo Championships as top seeds endure miserable day
August 2015: Top seed Trstenjak secures Slovenia's maiden title at World Judo Championships