JudoInside – News – Cadet World Championships in Sarajevo opens the doors for top judo talent

It’s a busy time for cadets. With continental championships, the recent EYOF and the Cadet World Championships this week in Sarajevo, it’s for many the highlight period, perhaps of their life. The blockbuster of this year is held in Bosnia Herzegovina in a city with a rich judo history over the past 10 years with lots of main events.

Branislav Crnogorac, the President of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Judo Federation welcomed the delegates of the 60 countries at the draw ceremony, “We are here together to celebrate our cadets. Sarajevo loves people and people love Sarajevo. We can truly say that our city is a sport city. For instance, back in 1984, we organised the winter Olympic Games. More recently in 2019, the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival was held here as well and this is already the second edition of the cadet world championships to take place in Sarajevo. Over the past years, we have organised several European events. That is why we are really happy to welcome again the best cadets for this world event.”

Almost 500 judoka have arrived in Sarajevo, from 60 nations. What is truly astounding is the presence of every cadet world number one, no exceptions. The majority are from Europe but an anomaly at cadet level is the lack of Japanese opposition through the year and therefore the lack of ranking for the entire Japanese team attending in Bosnia. This will provide some nervousness in the early rounds with the unseeded Japanese slotting into the draw anywhere. Even the world number ones will need to take a deep breath before checking what their competition may bring.

Four weight categories will compete each day, beginning with the lightest groups, and on day 5 the mixed team event will take place, with 15 delegations entered.

Among the ones to watch, we see Tara Babulfath (SWE) competing at U48kg. She has competed 8 times internationally this year and 6 of those events earned her gold medals. In fact she hasn’t failed to reach the rostrum at all, including taking the title at the European Cadet Championships and then stepping up to win gold at the Prague Junior European Cup. Her trajectory is no joke and she seems free to throw her way to the final, all being well. If we were to be so bold as to predict who might meet her there, we could guess Miyaki of Japan although the number two seed sits in Miyaki’s quarter, Poulange (FRA), with gold medals from Strasbourg and Poland among her prizes from this year.

The busiest category is the U60kg men’s group, including 36 different countries and 48 athletes. With all continents represented and so many unknown newcomers, there will be some big surprises here; it’s a real fact-finding mission and the launchpad for future analysis. When day two is over in Bosnia there will be scurrying throughout the judo world, ready to embrace the self-announced future of global junior judo. Also the men’s U73kg will be very crowded and show a very high level among the 38 athletes including European and EYOF champions.

The European summer is coming close to its end and for cadet judo the heat is on. Your eyes will be focused on Sarajevo from now on.