There was a special atmosphere this morning for the third day of competition at the World Judo Championships - Doha 2023 and this atmosphere, both playful and refreshing, was mainly due to the young students of the Lycée Voltaire in Doha, who came in large numbers to attend the competition.

"Judo is really good and cool!" These children's words sum up their feelings well. Kheira, Sami, Abderazak, Fares, Abdulramen, Margaux, Melina, Safya and Salwa, all aged 8 to 10, agreed, "It's really nice to have come to see the world judo championships.”

For the teaching team, this sporting outing is important, "Today we came with a hundred children but throughout the week, we are going to bring more than 500 young people, who will thus have the chance to discover a competition of this level. It's not every day that a world championship takes place on their doorstep.

We will bring all age groups between 8 and 13 years old. Our school has more than 30 different nationalities and showing them an international environment like judo is important for them."

Surprise and astonishment, there was a lot in the sparkling eyes of the young spectators. Prepared in advance, for the vast majority of them, it remained a discovery. There are those who are just amazed by the size of a world championship, "This venue is superb;” there are those who are already interested in technique, "I like to see how judoka overturn their opponents" or, "The techniques are spectacular;” there are also those who are a little scared, "It's a little scary to see them fall, at first I thought they were hurting themselves, but that's not the case and that's cool.”

For their teachers, it's not all about a simple school trip, "We prepared them to come and watch the competition. We talked about judo, its history and taught them a bit about the rules and terminology. I am certain that all this can arouse some vocations,” said Stephane the headteacher.

There is no doubt that there will be vocations! Seeing the children enthusiastically encouraging their new heroes from France, Belgium or Algeria, we understand that some may be inclined to start judo, "Yes, I would like to try,” they said. Nine-year-old Salma is already a Qatari karate champion, so maybe she won't change sports but, "Judo is great. I'm impressed to see how strong they are."

A world championship is the goal of the season for athletes around the world. Today and in the days to come, this objective will perhaps serve a greater purpose, that of passing on the passion for sport to young people who only ask for it. Yes, judo is definitely cool.

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