Thursday,25 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1409, (13-19 September 2018)
Thursday,25 April, 2019
Issue 1409, (13-19 September 2018)

Ahram Weekly

The best in Baku

Six Egyptians battle it out at the World Judo Championships in Azerbaijan this month, reports Inas Mazhar


The glamorous World Judo Championships is scheduled to start on the morning of 20 September at the 5,000-seat National Gymnastics Arena in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku. The competition will run until 27 September.

So far, more than 800 male and female competitors from 133 countries representing five continents are taking part in the eight-day competition where they are expected to display power, art, skills and strategy on their way to reaching the peak of the sport. 

The world-class event is expected to attract a huge spectator turnout as a full-house reacts to the beat of the ippons, yukos and waza-aris as they fight for the medals.

According to board member of the Egyptian Judo Federation Hisham Mesbah, Egypt is taking part with six competitors who are “aiming high”.

The team comprises Mohamed Abdel-Mawgoud and Ahmed Abdel-Rahman in the -66 kg, Mohamed Mohieddin in the -73 kg, Mohamed Abdel-Aal in the -81 kg, Hatem Abdel-Akher in the -90 and Ramadan Darwish in the -100 kg. Board memberd Ahmed Saber will lead the sixman Egyptian deligation. 


“Our judokas are ready,” Mesbah added. “They are currently training in Japan. They are expected to arrive in Cairo on 17 September, then leave the following day for Baku.” Mesbah said that head coach Bassel Al-Gharabawi said he was pleased with the performance of the players in training and with the results achieved in the past months at the African championships and the European championships, Mesbah told Al-Ahram Weekly.

Abdel-Mawgoud and Darwish were recently victorious with Abdel-Mawgoud winning the silver medal of the -66 kg category at the Budapest Grand Prix last month, while Darwish won the -90 kg gold at the Bratislava Senior European Cup earlier this month.

Mesbah added that Egypt will only take part in the individual competitions, not the teams, “because team competitions include both men and women, so each team has three men and three women who play against other teams and the team which wins more moves on. Unfortunately, we are not taking part with a women’s team.”


Mesbah, Egypt’s Olympic bronze medalist in the 2008 Beijing Games, will arrive in Baku before the team with a special invitation from the International Judo Federation. During the opening ceremony on 19 September Mesbah will be honoured by the IJF for his “remarkable achievements and great contribution to the sport”. He was selected to join Judo’s Hall of Fame.

According to the IJF’s official website, the competition will start daily at 10am, except for the teams whose first matches are fixed at 9am. The final batch will start every day at 4pm.

Day one will see two categories, the men’s -60 kg and the women’s -48 kg. On day two, it will be the men’s -66 kg and the women’s -52 kg. Day three will witness the men’s -73 kg and the women’s -57 kg while day four will see the men’s -81 kg and the women’s -63 kg. On day five the men will clash at the -90 kg while the women will fight for the -70 kg and day six is scheduled for the men’s -100 kg and the women’s -78. Day seven will be dedicated to the heavyweights as men will compete for the +100 kg and women in the +78 kg. The championship will conclude with the mixed teams event.


This year the competition covers eight days instead of seven as in previous editions. Eight days of passion and high performance. Each day there will be two weight classes that will compete for the world title, while the last day will be dedicated to the mixed teams.

The website also confirmed that after the success of a new format applied in last year’s World Championship in Budapest, it will appear again at the Baku 2018 World Championships before being applied next year in Japan for the 2019 Worlds and before the 2020 Tokyo Games where for the first time in history a judo team tournament will be part of the Olympic programme. 

Judo lovers will be looking forward to watching the mighty world champions after organisers confirmed that the No 1 players in the world in the 14 categories for men and women will make their appearance at Baku where they will either confirm their ranking or be dethroned.

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