The world's best judokas return to action after eight months at the Grand Slam Hungary on 23-25 October
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 (the previous tournament was the Dusseldorf Grand Slam on 21-23 February).
Olympic champions Fabio Basile and Paula Pareto, along with world gold medallists Daria Bilodid, Nikoloz Sherazadashvili and Marie Eve Gahie, are among the judokas taking part in the Grand Slam Hungary in Budapest from 23-25 October.
The Judo World Tour has been put on hold since March when the measures taken in response to the Covid-19 pandemic forced the International Judo Federation (IJF) to suspend or cancel several international events.
As a result, 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.
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.
The release of the documentary 'Teddy, le film' in France highlights the success of two-time Olympic judo champion Teddy Riner. Daria Bilodid, Clarisse Agbegnenou and Fabio Basile explain what sets Teddy Riner apart.
2020 Judo major events calendar
Information subject to change. Correct as of 19 October, according to the IJF Calendar
23-25 October Grand Slam Hungary 2020 in Budapest, Hungary
TBC Zagreb Grand Prix 2020 in Zagreb, Croatia
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 Championships 2020 in Bucharest, Romania
28-30 November African Senior Championships 2020 in Rabat, Morocco
By the Olympic Channel