The International Judo Federation has announced dates for the return of the World Judo Tour, starting with the Budapest Grand Slam on 23 October.
Three years after holding the Judo World Championships, Budapest will once again play host to the world's greatest judokas in the first Grand Slam to take place after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the announcement of three events, including the Budapest Grand Slam (23/25 October), the Tokyo Grand Slam (11-13 December) and the Qatar World Masters (January 2021), the International Judo Federation has put the sport firmly back on the sporting calendar, less than a year before the Olympics take place in Tokyo.
While focussing on the health measures set to be implemented to ensure a safe environment for all competitors, IJF President Marius Vizer announced the return of judo, saying:
“The time has come to announce how we will, step by step, restart our activities. We know that the situation is different around the world, but there are territories that are ready to organise events. Hungary is ready to host the Grand Slam at the end of October, with all necessary health measures and protection in place. All countries will be welcome and able to participate. We are building a dedicated team that will be in charge of these forthcoming events and will help ensure the safety of all of our participants. The same conditions will also be applied in Japan, for the Tokyo Grand Slam."
Qualifying points on the table
A total of 386 athletes are expected to line up in the judo competition for Tokyo 2020, with men and women both competing across seven weight classes. The mixed team event will also make its debut in Tokyo, as three male judoka and three female judoka drawn from the individual competition will join forces to become the inaugural Olympic Judo team champions.
As part of the announcement, the IJF confirmed that qualifying points will be at stake when competition returns in October, while also stating that a number of continental competitions are due to take place during the same time period:
"All three events aim to offer qualification points for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The continental unions are also planning the organisation of several continental events before the end of the year."