IJF Budapest Grand Prix gets Road to Tokyo underway

IJF Budapest Grand Prix gets Road to Tokyo underway

09/08/2018 at 22:15Updated 09/08/2018 at 22:16

The International Judo Federation (IJF) World Judo Tour returns to Hungary this weekend for the Budapest Grand Prix 2018 for what promises to be a sparkling three days of competition.

Over 600 competitors from 90 countries across five continents will head to the Hungarian capital – the home city of the IJF Presidential Office – for the first time since the hugely successful 2017 World Championships.

The 4500-seater László Papp Sports Arena in Budapest is the venue for three days of judo action starting on Friday [10 August] running until Sunday [12 August]. A total of 371 men and 255 women make up the 626 strong competition for what is the opening event of the 2020 Olympic Games qualification period.

Olympic qualification to Tokyo 2020 started in May and this year’s Budapest Grand Prix is seen by many as being a key stop on the road to Japan.

Friday’s first day of competition sees the women’s under 48 kg, under 52 kg and under 57 kg competitions, whilst the men’s action is in the under 60 and under 66 kg categories. Saturday’s second day will cover the women’s under 63 and under 70 kg competitions, along with the men’s under 73 and under 81 kg.

The third and final day of the Grand Prix on Sunday covers the women’s 78 kg and over 78 kg and the men’s heavyweight divisions in the under 90 kg, under 100 kg, and over 100 kg competitions.

And it is not only the judo competitors who have been training and preparing hard for the weekend’s action. A 17-strong IJF referee delegation, who will officiate this weekend at the Budapest Grand Prix, all successfully passed a practical IJF Academy examination on Wednesday in the Hungarian capital.

This new initiative was introduced before the Zagreb Grand Prix a fortnight ago and the second installment, with a different set group of referees, was staged from Monday to the KSI Judo Club, the home club of Hungarian stars such as Toth Krisztian and Joo Abigel.

All referees worked their way through 100 Kodokan techniques as they honed their nage-waza and katame-waza skills before Wednesday’s strict examination. After spending six hours on the tatami per day, all 17 referees passed the IJF Academy examination along with Dr. Lisa Allan, IJF Competition Manager and IJF Executive Committee member.