The International Judo Federation selected Tel Aviv to host one of its iconic Grand Slam tournaments in February 2021, an Israeli judo official confirmed this week. Israel Judo Association President Moshe Ponte announced that Israel will have the unique opportunity to welcome champions for the Grand Slam instead of the Grand Prix level in 2021.
“Today we received great news,” said Ponte. “One of the most prestigious competitions in the world is coming to Israel. The Grand Slam will take place here in February, during an Olympic year.
“It will be critical for Olympic qualification criteria, which ensures great competition. All the greats will be coming here to ensure their participation in the Olympics.”
Israel has hosted the IJF’s marquee Grand Prix tournament in Tel Aviv for the past two years. In 2018, Israel also hosted the European Judo Championships.
Building upon the success of the past two Grand Prix events, the IJF decided to up the ante and select Tel Aviv to host one of its seven Grand Slam tournaments in 2021.
Grand Slam tournaments are one of the many classifications of competition held by the IJF annually. Throughout the year judokas earn World Ranking List (WRL) points by competing in sanctioned IJF tournaments, opens and championships. Placement in these events determine a judoka’s world rank and during an Olympic year it ultimately decides whether or not they qualify, essentially raising the competition up a notch every four years.
Different classifications of competition offer differing amounts of points judokas can earn towards their world ranking. In terms of importance, Grand Slam tournaments rank third among the classifications of international judo competitions, falling just behind the Masters Invitational and the World Championships, although ahead of a Grand Prix.