The IJF Veteran World Championships 2017 opened on Saturday with 292 male judoka competing from 36 countries at the Geo Village resort in Olbia, Italy.
The five oldest men's age groups were contested on day one M6 (55-59) M7 (60-64), M8 (65-69), M9 (70-74), M10 (75-79) with competitors ranged from the age off 55 through to their late 70s. All of the women's categories will be held on Tuesday, the last day of competition in Olbia.
Eighth Veteran World title for Dutch powerhouse KOPPE
Dutch heavyweight Hendrik KOPPE (NED) won all three of his contests in the M6 +100kg category as the 55-year-old won Veteran World Championships gold for the eighth time.
Four-time Dutch Championships bronze medallist KOPPE won his first contest with a textbook uchi-mata against Jean Luc BARTOLI (FRA) after 60 seconds.
Arthur SCOTTO (USA) was bested in just eight seconds by uchi-mata as the standout Dutchman booked his place in the final.
KOPPE sealed gold with a win over Jean Marc PACE (FRA) in just eight seconds with a sasae-tsurikomi-ashi and the popular veteran was quick to pay tribute to the competition and the role that judo has played in his life.
"I do this because it's fun, I enjoy every aspect of competing still and it's always a pleasure to see friends from the sport and test myself on the mat.
"This competition, with all it's competitors and so many countries taking part, shows how judo is more than a sport and it's my pleasure to be part of it."
88-year-old Greek judoka exemplifies spirit of Veteran's Judo
Greek judoka Nikolaos KLOUVATOS, 88, who trains judo three times a week, turned up to compete in Olbia, Italy.
The 6th Dan has been practicing the sport since 1968 and as a former pilot has an air miles allocation for life and uses it to attend the Veteran World Championships as often as he can.
A new rule came into force at this year's competition that judoka in their 80s could not compete due to health and safety but KLOUVATOS still made the trip and wanted to be part of the event.
"I believe that judo is the best in the world," said KLOUVATOS who received a participation medal having registered to compete.
"Judo trains all of your body, from your 208 bones to your 651 muscles, it's a total full body workout and on the left and right side.
"You can practice judo at any age, any height, any weight, it's a universal sport that is open to everyone. Judo has taught me many things and given me many thanks and I couldn't live without it.
"I hope to stay active in the sport for as long as I can and will be back next year to support the competition."
Brazilian judoka Clayton DE SOUZA (M6 -73kg) was supported by his two-year-oldgranddaughter
Judo's Moral Code: Courtesy
1. The showing of politeness in one's attitude and behaviour towards others.
British Team Manager and judoka Stan CANTRILL, 72, coached over 10 judoka in the morning session before taking to the tatami himself in the afternoon in the M9 -73kg category.
The 2015 World Veteran bronze medallist put himself a firm second as he prioritised the efforts of his teammates who were able to win seven medals to end day one in second place in the medal table behind Russia.
CANTRILL (right) lost to fellow Welshman and long-time British Masters colleague Alan JONES M.B.E in the M9 -73kg repechage
On Sunday the M1 (age 30-34)and M3(40-44) judoka will be fighting for honours and judo fans can watch all the action live and free at www.ippon.tv
Former Japan international KOMURO Koji (M3 -73kg), who flew in directly from hosting a seminar in San Diego, USA, will be among the most accomplished judoka taking part in the youngest men's weight categories while London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and 2013 world silver medallist Ugo LEGRAND (FRA) will be in the coaches chair on Sunday.
Click here for the results from day one.
Stay tuned for the full photo gallery from the IJF Veteran World Judo Championships.
Sunday 1 October
09:30: M1 & M3
Monday 2 October
09:30: M4 & M5
Tuesday 3 October
09:30: M2 & F1-F10
Location: Geo Village, Olbia, Italy