Judo

Things you need to know as the World Judo Tour season resumes in Budapest

The world's best judokas return to action after eight months at the Grand Slam Hungary on 23-25 October

By Alessandro Poggi ·

The long wait for judo fans is over!

The best athletes in the sport are ready to don their judogi and step on the tatami as they compete for the first time in eight months.

Olympic champions Fabio Basile, and Paula Pareto, along with world gold medallists Nikoloz Sherazadashvili, Marie Eve Gahie, and Daria Bilodid are amongst the judokas taking part in the Grand Slam Hungary in Budapest from 23-25 October.

Bilodid, who tops the -48kg world rankings, will compete in the -52kg weight class.

Rio gold medallist and reigning super-heavyweight world champion Lukas Krpalek withdrew from the event after testing positive for coronavirus.

Back to the mat

The last time many of the top judokas took part in a tournament was the Dusseldorf Grand Slam on 21-23 February. Shortly afterwards, the Judo World Tour was put on hold, when the measures taken in response to the Covid-19 pandemic forced the International Judo Federation (IJF) to suspend or cancel several international events.

The Grand Slam Hungary, the Zagreb Grand Prix, and the continental championships are the only major events confirmed for the rest of the year.

While there's not a date yet for the tournament in Zagreb, in late September the IJF called off the Tokyo Grand Slam, originally scheduled for this December, due to the "continued uncertainty" surrounding the pandemic.

The Judo Masters is due to take place in Doha, Qatar, on 11-13 January as previously announced, with the judo ruling body also poised to communicate the 2021 calendar.

Safe judo

Strict health and safety protocols have been implemented in preparation for the Grand Slam Hungary.

All athletes and staff members will be tested prior to the tournament. They will live in a 'bubble' and will only travel from the hotel to the arena.

Judokas are required to constantly wear a face mask unless they are competing, while the mats will be regurarly sanitised and cleaned.

In order to guarantee the safest environment, there won't be spectators at the event, and organisers are prepared to isolate and treat positive cases while protecting the rest of the athletes.

“We must adapt for Covid-19, and what better way to demonstrate that than the return of our beloved World Judo Tour,” IJF President Marius Vizer said as he announced the resumption of judo competitions.

Road to Tokyo

The events in Budapest, Zagreb, and Doha, along with the continental championships and opens in Pan America, Asia and Africa, aim to offer qualification points for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

During an extraordinary meeeting in March, the IJF extended the Olympic Qualification period to June 30.

The top 18 men and women in the World Ranking List from 18 different countries in each of the 7 weight categories will qualify directly.

Each continent will have additional quota places, which will be assigned to the athletes (not directly qualified) with the best ranking.

The total quota places for Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Pan America will be respectively 24, 25, 20, 10 and 21.

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2020 Judo major events calendar

Information subject to change. Correct as of 11 November, according to the IJF Calendar

23-25 October Grand Slam Hungary 2020 in Budapest, Hungary

19-21 November European Seniors Championships 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic

19-22 November Panamerican Senior Championships 2020 in Guadalajara, Mexico

26-29 November Asian Oceania Championships Seniors and Teams in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

28 November European Mixed Team Championshps 2020 in Bucharest, Romania

28-30 November African Senior Championships 2020 in Rabat, Morocco

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