The International Judo Federation (IJF) has announced the imminent return of the World Judo Tour, with three of its biggest events set to take place between now and the early part of 2021. The announcement marks the end of months of waiting for judoka and fans alike, who have been forced to go without any action since the suspension of the Rabat Grand Prix in March.
The Tour will resume in October with the postponed Budapest Grand Slam. It will be followed by the Tokyo Grand Slam in December and the World Judo Masters, which is now set to be held in the early part of 2021 in Doha. Not only will the events give judoka the chance to sharpen their skills following months of inaction, but all three competitions will also offer qualification points for next summer’s Olympic Games.
The return of international judo will be particularly welcome news for the organisers of those Games. Judo is historically one of the most popular Olympic sports and is set to play an even more prominent role than usual at the 2021 Games in Japan, the country considered to be the cradle of the sport.
In addition to the top-level events in Budapest, Tokyo and Doha, the sport’s continental unions have also been given the green light to proceed with the organisation of their own regional competitions before the end of the year. To that end, the IJF has published a competition protocol detailing a series of compulsory conditions that events must adhere to in the current pandemic circumstances.
“The time has come to announce how we will, step by step, restart our activities,” declared Marius Vizer, President of the IJF. “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.”