These athletes will change the world / IJF.org
Florin Daniel Lascau is an instrumental figure in world judo. A world champion himself and later working in coaching, sports organization and education, he is now the IJF Director of Chief Umpires and a key member of the IJF Academy. What is also clear is that he is a judo fan and a stats lover.
In Sarajevo, Mr. Lascau works with a team of supervisors to ensure that officiating is fair and consistent, to facilitate a world-class competition where judo takes center stage, performance, technical ability and l positive attitude of the athletes.
The individual competition has come to an end and over the past 4 days, 16 new cadet world champions have presented themselves. Mr Lascau has followed the numbers and now offers his thoughts on what has been a fantastic championship.
“60 countries participated and 25 of them won medals, a little over 40%. Gold medals were won by 12 countries and those came from three continents, showing the continued diversity within judo. One of these gold medals was won by an Indian judoka, a historic milestone for international judo and for her country, as it was the first world medal won by India in any category of age or weight.”
“There were also eight medals for Uzbekistan in total and although they only had one gold, their development as a team, men and women, is really highlighted by this. tally of medals; no other country has won so many!
Judo federations invest in cadets who are 15, 16 or 17 today, these may not be ready for Paris 2024, but in 6 years they will be 21, 22, 23 and some will be ready to write the pages of judo history at the World Championships and the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028. These athletes are going to change the world and the coaches understand that.
Aside from medals and thoughts of the future, there are more numbers that write stories. Statistics are evidence and can highlight trends and progress.
Among the competitors present, 271 were men, 56% of the 483 registered in total, while 212 women were present, 44%. The gap here is incredibly small in global terms. Think of it this way, that if there were only 6% less men and 6% more women, it would be equal entry for all genders. 6% is a small proportion, significant but small.
Young women from France and Uzbekistan like to participate in a world championship
With this good balance between men and women at the cadet level, it will lead to great gender equity in judo in the years to come. We can see that the future representation of women among coaches, officials and in leadership positions should be significantly improved, in the natural course of things.
“It is logical that we see these positive statistics when you consider that in Sarajevo there were 32 medals for the men but also 32 medals for the women; the same chances for everyone. This reflects similar statistics up to the World Judo Tour and the Olympic Games.
Over 530 contests were umpired, in total, but of these, only 33 male contests and 31 female contests were won by an accumulation of shido, less than 6%, or the overall score. Straight hansokumake wins, however, are where we first see a noticeable difference, 15 for men but only 4 for women. Of this very small number, most involved the use of the head to throw or dive the head.
Such a big difference calls for further investigation; naturally there should be a reason for that, a reason that could have implications for changes in coaching methodology, but that’s for another day.
“Of these more than 500 competitions, 9 out of 10 were won by one waza-ari, two waza-ari or ippon, all positive scores. This shows that with the lack of experience in this age category, one sees less tactical fights. They are really looking for victory. Some are still developing the techniques but also the physical growth of the athletes is not yet complete. Some still have 5 to 10 cm or more to go. They can still go up a or even multiple weight classes.All of this is significant in terms of stage of development in competitive situations.
Passing from the absolute number, it is necessary to speak about the technical judo itself. The range of nage-waza covered the five groups of classified techniques of the Kodokan. Shoulder throws such as seoi-nage and ippon-seoi-nage, followed by uchi-mata, harai-goshi, de-ashi-harai and o-uchi-gari, top the stats.”
“Counter techniques were presented in the form of ura-nage, yoko-guruma, tani-otoshi, uchi-mata-gaeshi and uchi-mata-sukashi, showing a broad technical understanding of these cadets.
We have seen a lot of renzoku-waza, a technique that develops through practice in the same direction, double tomoe-nage or ken ken uchi-mata, for example. We also saw a lot of renraku-waza, combining different techniques and directions; it was normal here and not the exception.
In the field, osae-waza was the most common, truly dominant.
The traditional transition to yoko-shiho-gatame or kesa-gatame was popular, then in both men’s and women’s groups and in all weight classes, sankaku was used for both shime-waza and maintenance, which was a surprise. There were very few kansetsu-waza finishes at all.”
“I would also like to mention the grip; the phases of kumi-kata seemed to indicate that some athletes were perhaps a little nervous as they approached the first big competition of their lives. Many were very focused on just taking the no doubt these athletes will be more complex as they mature through the junior and senior ranks.
With such an emphasis on offensive judo, most fights were won in regulation time, within 4 minutes, 86% in fact. 1:40min was the average length of gold score spells that were fought and the range was 0:11min to 6:35min with the upper end being an anomaly. We noticed that the time was different in different weight classes. The lighter the judoka, the greater the percentage and the longer the golden score time, in terms of trend. The last day was really an avalanche of ippon without the need for extra time. After 4 days of individual training, a generation of young judokas in clear technical progress, showed a good knowledge of the principles of judo. One of the reasons for this positive finding is the large number of former IJF Academy coaches, demonstrating that there is theoretical and practical added value. There is a direct benefit not only in training but also in competition. There was good behavior from most athletes and coaches.”
“They are all still learning how to win and how to lose a contest, a medal, a competition. We hope to see these young judokas again in the junior competitions and of course we wish to welcome them to the World Judo Tour, if not in this cycle Olympic Games in Paris and then in the following one, in Los Angeles.
We saw technique trump power in Sarajevo, technical advantage still plays the biggest role in victory as demonstrated in the latest heavyweight division final on Day 4. This bodes well for the future. Bosnia and Herzegovina provided the perfect platform to see it all and the judo world owes the country a debt of thanks.