In 2019 the world’s best judokas will be fighting for points to move up in the rankings and secure qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Two Grand Prix and three Regional Championships will take place this year. Get to know more about each of them.
The first one will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, between 13 and 14 May, while the second in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from 7-8 October.
The latter will be one of the final opportunities for the world’s best to test themselves at an international competition before the period for performances to be recorded in the world rankings ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics closes on 31 May 2020.
After failing to win her second world title in 2018, Rio 2016 gold medallist Sandrine Martinet aims to bounce back in the women’s up to 48kg at the continental competition in Genova, Italy.
Paralympic champion Ramil Gasimov will be another to look out for. The Azerbaijani had to settle for bronze at last year’s World Championships in Odivelas, Portugal, following a surprising defeat to Uzbekistan’s debutant Feruz Sayidov in the men’s up to 73kg.
Parapan American Games
Brazil are hopeful of landing several golds at Lima 2019.
Alana Maldonado (women’s up to 70kg) became the country’s first female judoka to win the world title at Odivelas 2018.
Four-time Paralympic champion Antonio Tenorio (men's up to 100kg), Lucia Araujo (women’s up to 57kg) and Willians Silva de Araujo (men’s over 100kg) will be other Brazilian judokas to look out for.
Mexican Paralympic champions Lenia Ruvalcaba (women’s up to 70kg) and Eduardo Avila Sanchez (men’s up to 81kg), and Venezuela´s only Paralympic gold medallist Naomi Soazo (women’s up to 63kg) are also strong candidates in their categories.
It will an exciting event in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, between 4 and 5 September.
South Korean judokas were in unstoppable form at the 2018 Worlds, finishing top of the overall medals table with seven medals including five golds.
Soohee Choi, who won the world title after beating two Paralympic champions in China’s Li Liqing and France’s Martinet, will be the woman to beat in the up to 48kg.
Odivelas 2018 gold medallists Jung Min Lee (men’s up to 81kg) and Song Lee Jin (women’s up to 63kg) will also start as favourites.
Iranian Mohammedreza Kheirollahzadeh, who won gold in the men’s over 100kg at his maiden World Championships last year, will be fighting for the title as well.