The decision of the International Judo Federation (IJF) to suspend the World Judo Tour has not signalled a total end to elite competition in 2020. Although the world’s premier judo series has been interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of regional tournaments are still set to go ahead between now and the end of the year.
The first of those events will be the Lima Panamerican Open. A total of 55 judoka are set to compete in the Peruvian capital on 6 and 7 December. Seven nations from across North, Central and South America will be represented, with the vast majority of athletes hailing from two countries: Peru and the United States of America. They will be joined by two judoka from Europe, namely Ireland’s Nathon Burns and Italy’s Salvatore D’Arco.
Following the conclusion of the Lima Panamerican Open, attention will turn to Poland and the European Kata Championships. The fifteenth edition of the annual competition is scheduled to take place on the weekend of 12 and 13 December in the city of Warsaw. At the time of writing, the event organisers have not yet confirmed the names of the judoka who will be competing at this year’s tournament.
Only four days after the European Kata Championships come to an end, the rescheduled African Seniors Championships will get under way in Madagascar. The championships were originally scheduled to be held in Morocco but have been suspended twice because of the pandemic. Having been set to take place from 16 to 19 April in Casablanca and then rescheduled for 28 to 30 November in Rabat, the four-day competition will finally kick off on 17 December in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo.
Attracting 135 athletes from no fewer than 32 African nations, the competition looks set to provide some much-needed excitement at the end of a difficult year for the sport. Following a break for the holiday season, the eyes of the judo world will then turn as one to the year 2021 and next summer’s long-awaited Olympic Games in Tokyo.