For an event of the scale of a grand slam, the kata world championships or the 2023 edition of the veterans world championships to be a success, it takes energy, a lot of energy and above all a huge range of skills in all sectors. The IJF and the local organising committee are full of them. Yet other partners are just as crucial. Alexandre Blaise has a lot of energy too. Head of the Sports Department of the Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, he was at the heart of the organisation of the kata and veterans events. While he was literally running from one place to another on the university campus, we stopped him for a few minutes so he could explain how he and his team contributed to the success of the competitions.

"The Sorbonne Abu Dhabi is a project born in 2006, from the initiative of France and the Emirates. The co-operation between the two countries extends to military, cultural and academic fields. We intervene in this third sector. We are an independent entity but we obviously work closely with France and we are proud to carry the Sorbonne name, the history of which goes back to the 13th century. We issue the same diplomas for example and among our staff, speakers and teachers, there are locals, French and international people.

Our curricula cover literature, history and geography, archaeology, languages and modern literature. We have different partnerships with other universities. In total we welcome 1,300 students from all over the world, representing around 70 different nationalities.

Among the diplomas we issue is that of sports management. Only 19 universities in the world do this. This is why we are involved in organising judo competitions in Abu Dhabi. Everything is linked to the development of sport and the opening of culture through sport.

For years, we have been working with the UAE Judo Federation and our students volunteer during the organisation of the grand slam each year. During discussions with Naser Al Tamimi, the secretary general of the federation and following discussions with the IJF, in particular Michel Huet, we gradually made recommendations for structural and functional evolution in the organisation of events. For our students, this is beneficial. For example, they can obtain a volunteer certificate which they can add to their CV.

Around nine months ago, the national federation approached us because they wanted to host the kata and veterans worlds. Obviously, we were immediately interested and we made proposals. For several days this has materialised with the holding of competitions on campus.

We have had to adapt and we continue to adapt day by day according to the challenges that we face. The idea is that we must find solutions to all the problems that can arise and which are the common lot of any event of this scale. My role is to co-ordinate adjustments in everything that concerns us. I am in permanent contact with the national federation of course as well as with the IJF.

Frankly, the results are very positive and we are very satisfied with what we have managed to put in place. It wasn't easy. For example, participation has exploded compared to previous editions, especially with the veterans, who are particularly numerous, but we managed to find the solution so everyone would leave with great memories. We will be able to learn a lot from these weeks leading up to the worlds and from the week of competition. I am convinced that our students learned a great deal.

We will also be able to make new proposals and suggestions to the national federation and the IJF. I believe there is a lot of potential. We can imagine even more things around tourism linked to the event, we can strengthen cultural ties between nations while respecting each other's customs, we can imagine even stronger marketing to promote kata and veterans. There are numerous projects and we are ready to get involved as we have done for years."

To get involved this year, Alexandre had at his disposal 5 permanent staff and around 70 students who took turns tirelessly all week. Since the energy and will of the group is higher than the energy and will of the individuals, the results exceed the legitimate hopes and fears that always exist before the first hajime resonates. In less than two days, the Abu Dhabi 2023 judo page will close. It was a great success and the work of Alexandre and his team is more than significant in this.