The 2020 edition of the World Judo Tour has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was announced by the International Judo Federation (IJF) following a meeting of its Executive Committee on 11 November.
Having been at a prolonged standstill following the suspension of the Rabat Grand Prix in March, the tour had returned at the end of October with the Hungary Grand Slam 2020. After the success of that competition, the sport’s governing body had hoped to hold another event, the Zagreb Grand Prix 2020, before the end of the year.
However, it was not meant to be. With the COVID-19 health crisis worsening in many countries, the IJF chose to draw a definitive line under the World Judo Tour 2020. The decision reflects a global context in which more and more governments are taking reinforced measures to stop the spread of the virus, making the organisation of training – let alone international competitions – increasingly difficult for athletes and governing bodies alike.
“It is a hard decision to take, especially after such a successful and joyful event as the Hungary Grand Slam was a few weeks ago,” said the President of the IJF, Marius Vizer. “Unfortunately, we can see most countries of the world fighting hard to prevent the pandemic from getting out of hands and the safety of the Judo Family comes first.”
With any hope of a return to action before the end of the year abandoned, the focus of the judo community is already turning to 2021.
Fortunately, the world’s highest ranked judoka will not have to wait long to start competing, with the Doha Masters scheduled to take place during the second full week of January. What with the Tokyo Games drawing ever nearer, and valuable Olympic qualification points on offer, there will be no time for competitors to shake off any rust they may develop during the current break.
“The IJF Team will now focus on organising the Qatar Masters in January,” Mr. Vizer continued, “and we hope that we will be able to bring together the international judo community in Doha, to mark a fresh start of judo in 2021, with the best athletes of the world competing for Olympic qualification.”