Olympic Judo: All eyes on Tokyo for judo

All roads are leading to Tokyo in judo, with the World Judo Tour providing an enticing taste of the action to come at the 2019 World Judo Championships at the Olympic 2020 Games in the Japanese capital. Olympic fans from all over the world are invited to book Olympic 2020 tickets from our online platform for Olympic Tickets. Olympic Judo fans can book Olympic Judo tickets from our ticketing marketplace exclusively on discounted prices.

With the International Judo Federation’s (IJF) groundbreaking opening Grand Prix of the year in Tel Aviv setting the tone, spectators have flocked to events on the World Judo Tour, with the line-up of competitors demonstrating the global appetite for the sport.

A total of 53 nations and 373 athletes were represented at the season-opening event, with Israel elevated to Grant Prix event-hosting status for the first time this year, having already successfully staged continental championships and produced a number of the sport’s top athletes since the early 1990s.

Grand Slams followed in Paris and then Düsseldorf in February, with 97 countries and 570 athletes participating in France before 93 nations and a season-high 603 competitors took part in the German event.

Schedule

With a total of 10 destinations on the Grand Prix calendar this year, as well as six Grand Slam events, the World Championships from August 25-31 and then the Shenzhen Masters in China from December 13-15, the early indications are that the packed 2019 World Judo Tour calendar is proving irresistible to judokas and fans alike.

“So far, the World Judo Tour has been a real success,” IJF media director Nicolas Messner says. “From the Tel Aviv Grand Prix, which was introduced for the very first time in January, through to the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam in Russia in March, all of the events have attracted the best judo players in the world.”

At the heart of the sky-high interest is the knowledge that there will be multiple opportunities to qualify for the Olympics 2020, thereby providing an added incentive to participants on the 2019 World Judo Tour?

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Olympic Judo: All eyes on Tokyo for judo

“The level of judo has been particularly high as all nations are trying to qualify as many competitors as possible to Tokyo 2020,” Messner says.

This period of time is crucial for everyone and every single point gained at one of these events can make the difference a few months from now when the final list of qualified athletes will be released.

“From a spectator perspective, all events have also been great successes. Of course, the Paris Grand Slam always attracts thousands of judo fans – and the Accor Hotels Arena in Paris is the place to be – but the atmosphere in Tel Aviv and Düsseldorf was also incredible.”

With two of the sport’s biggest events taking place in Tokyo over the next 16 months, judo is preparing to return to its roots.

Roots

Japan was not only judo’s birthplace, but the sport also made its Olympic debut at Tokyo’s previous edition of the Games in 1964. The Nippon Budokan, which hosted the sport’s introduction to the Games 55 years ago, will set the stage again for the 2019 World Championships and the Olympics’ judo competition next year.

The World Judo Championships – the biggest judo gathering of the year – will also stoke interest ahead of the Olympics. Tokyo hosted the first two editions of the Championships in 1956 and 1958.

The Japanese cities of Chiba and Osaka staged the Championships before they returned to Tokyo in 2010, the most recent edition to take place in the country, with Tokyo also having hosted an annual IJF Grand Slam Series event for men since 2006 and women since 2007.

As the IJF continues to work closely with the All Japan Judo Federation and the Kodokan Judo Institute – which was established by the sport’s founding father, Jigoro Kano, nearly 140 years ago – the prospect of a capacity crowd at the Nippon Budokan is whetting the appetite for followers of the sport.

“From an organizational point of view, going to Japan always guarantees a very professional approach and a beautiful event,” Messner says.

Olympic Judo tickets
Olympic Judo: All eyes on Tokyo for judo

The All Japan Judo Federation, together with the Kodokan, is doing everything possible to host the best events. In Tokyo, we have a yearly Grand Slam, which is already one of the biggest and toughest events of the calendar, but with this year’s World Championships and next year’s Olympic 2020 Games, we are about to reach a new level.

Knowing that the World Championships in 2019 will serve as the test event for the Games in 2020 ads a bit of pressure, but in a very good way, and we are confident that the competition will be outstanding.

“Going to Japan where judo was born before spreading all over the world, is a dream come true for all of the athletes and organizers, especially as the event will take place in the same venue where judo made its first appearance at the Olympic 2020, Games. From a media perspective, that will definitely attract more media than we never had before.”

Heritage

Looking ahead to Tokyo Olympic Games, the eyes of the world will be on a multitude of sports converging on the Japanese capital. However, thanks to its special relationship with the city, judo is looking forward to a truly unique experience as sports fans across the world watch on.

Additionally, beyond the undeniable heritage of the sport in Japan and the links between judo and Japanese culture, there are numerous intriguing story angles that will be explored when the competition gets underway.

Judo has a great chance to ‘come back’ to Japan, where the sport was invented in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. The Kodokan institute will serve as the training venue and the Nippon Budokan will host the competition. This is incredible for our sport and it will for sure put the focus on judo during the Games, Messner adds.

“Judo is always a popular sport during the Olympic 2020 Games as it offers opportunities for many countries to shine under the Olympic spotlight. There are many questions that will be answered in Tokyo in 2020. Will Japan be unbeatable on their home soil? Will Teddy Riner, the 10-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion, win a third title? Will Majlinda Kelmendi win a second title for Kosovo? So many other questions will also offer judo incredible exposure.”

Changes

Those who have not had a chance to watch judo since the Rio 2016 Olympics may notice that the sport itself has undergone some changes, with the IJF focusing on efforts to enhance the dynamism of the sport.

Some of the most significant developments since the Games nearly three years ago have seen an equalization of contest time for men and women, as well as changes to the scoring system designed to encourage contests to be decided by technical prowess, and especially the ippon score, rather than penalties.

Olympic Judo tickets
Olympic Judo: All eyes on Tokyo for judo

However, whilst some of the changes may offer a new and exciting experience for occasional viewers and spectators of the sport, the alterations have already been fully integrated into the IJF’s events and adopted by judo’s leading stars.

“The changes in regulation were made after Rio and have been implemented since then and used throughout the qualification process. The decisions that were made after the Rio Olympics were the consequence of the permanent evaluation that the IJF is carrying out into the evolution of the sport. They were accepted, understood, and have already been in action for several years,” Messner says.

However, the carefully-crafted presentation of judo at Tokyo 2020 promises to add to the appeal for regular, occasional and new followers of the sport.

“From a visual perspective, new colors will be used for the tatami in order to make judo even more understandable, dynamic and spectacular,” he adds.

Expectations

The goal is not only to fulfill the expectations of the sport’s diehard fans, but also to develop new pockets of support worldwide and expose judo to a whole new generation of viewers, spectators and, ultimately, participants.

“Our federation is very active on the communications and media front,” Messner says.

With the World Judo Tour, we now have a circuit with at least one or two events per month. It’s easy and fun to follow for judo fans and they can identify themselves with champions coming from all over the globe. They can follow the Road to Olympic 2020 and we have created a special series of articles and videos that are all related to that specific journey.

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Olympic Judo: All eyes on Tokyo for judo

Judo is fun and offers great opportunities for people to meet, learn values and enjoy being in the judo family, Messner says. Whether you become a champion or don’t, for sure you will be different after you have practiced the sport. Judo is a way of life.

“Those are the main messages we want to deliver to the youth. Young people are very much connected to social media and that is one of the reasons that is active on those platforms. We are working with all of the national federations to propose programmed that attract the youth and give them chances in life.”

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Olympic Judo: USA judo star and Tokyo 2020 hopeful Jack Hatton dies suddenly aged 24

USA judo star Jack Hatton has expired aged just 24. Hatton was hoping to make the American team for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He recently competed at the Senior World Championships in Tokyo and was considered the best American judoka. Olympic fans from all over the world are invited to book Olympic 2020 tickets from our online platform for Olympic Tickets. Olympic Judo fans can book Olympic Judo tickets from our ticketing marketplace exclusively on discounted prices.

 A cause of death has not been revealed at the time of writing. A statement on the USA Judo website reads. Jack made an indelible mark on all who had the pleasure of knowing him and he will not be forgotten.

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Olympic Judo: USA judo star and Tokyo 2020 hopeful Jack Hatton dies suddenly aged 24

“We mourn with the whole USA Judo and international judo public during this threatening time. USA Judo is in the procedure of providing grief therapy services for those in need.”

He reached the second round at the World Championships in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Marius Vizer, leader of the International Judo Federation (IJF), posted on Twitter: I’m deeply enthused by the unexpected death of USA Judo global Jack Hatton.

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Olympic Judo: USA judo star and Tokyo 2020 hopeful Jack Hatton dies suddenly aged 24

“On behalf of the IJF, I send my sincere condolences and wishes to USA Judo and Jack’s family and friends.”

TRIBUTES PAID WORLDWIDE

Originally from Massachusetts, the -81kg judoka won two Pan American Open events in 2017 and was hoping to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. A host of the sport’s top stars have expressed their shock as the news broke.

Sagi Muki said: “I am so sad to hear. Jack is one of the finest USA Judoka and highest athlete at the U81kg separation. I’m so sad to hear this and I hope he is in a better place. I had a tough fight with him. My heart is broken.”

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And Olympic champion Khasan Khalmurzaev added:

“I am in shock. Of course, I remember Jack and my match against him. He was a very prosing athlete and I think he had a great future. It’s a pity. Might he rest in peace, my pities to his family”

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Kiyomi Watanabe eyeing Olympic spot in Tokyo 2020

After falling just short of a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games, Filipino-Japanese judoka Kiyomi Watanabe is now setting her sights on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Olympic Judo fans from all over the world can book Olympic Judo tickets online.

Watanabe, a three-time gold winner in the Southeast Asian Game, bowed to Japanese rival Nami Nabekura in the final of the -63 kilograms separation in the Asiad last week to settle for the silver medal.

Kiyomi Watanabe eyeing Olympic spot in Tokyo 2020

“Before my last game, I was really anxious so I could not do my best,” the 22-year-old Watanabe self-confessed after the competition. “I have been practicing with her in Japan, and I had a plan, but I couldn’t execute it.”

However Watanabe unsuccessful to reach the top of the podium, her silver medal was still much valued by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas and Philippine Judo Federation (PJF) president David Carter — both of whom are backing Watanabe to make it to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.

“I was hoping her to go for the Olympics,” said Vargas. “I was told that as of her ranking, this very moment, she’s qualified all ready for the Olympics.” “So she just has to continue to keep her ranking there, and we’ll see her in the Olympics,” he added.

Certainly, if the Tokyo 2020 Games started today, Watanabe will be one of 37 judokas qualified to contest in the -63 kg division. Nabekura, her Asian Games conqueror, is also qualified. Watanabe is now ranked 19th in the world, while Nabekura is third.

“Currently pasok na pasok siya, Kung ngayon gagawin ‘yung cut off,” Carter told reporters. “Pero of course, we still have two years.” “Pasok siya, ‘yun lang (standing) and dapat alagaan at i-maintain,” he added.

Kiyomi Watanabe eyeing Olympic spot in Tokyo 2020

Watanabe, for her part, vowed to do her best to stay on track for her first Olympic stint.

“It will certainly motivate me for the Olympics 2020 Games,” she said of her silver medal finish in Jakarta. “The last time in the Asian Games, I couldn’t get a medal.” “But this time, I did,” she added. “So I am progressing.”

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Judo for the World Series continues to focus on game’s importance in Japan as prepares for Tokyo Olympic 2020

The International Judo Federation (IJF) has released the third episode of a series of films aimed at showing why the sport is so important in Japan on the road to both this year’s World Championships and Olympic 2020 Games in Tokyo. Olympic Judo fans from all over the world can book Olympic Judo tickets online.

Judo for the World Series continues to focus on game’s importance in Japan as prepares for Tokyo Olympic 2020

The episode, entitled The Art of Judo – winter’s Dawn, was filmed in January 2019 and is the latest installment in the wider Judo for the World movie series.

It focuses on mental strength and the traditional celebration of New Year in Japan.

Viewers can discover the little judo community of Toma in Hokkaido; the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, where the Ueno family, despite the harsh weather conditions, has produced amazing judoka who have gone onto becoming Olympic and world champions.

Beyond the results, more can be learned about the educational dimension of judo and how it can develop in big cities as well as small communities.

Viewers can also discover the Kangeiko tradition, where judoka from all over the world gather together at the Kodokan and for more than 10 days train hard, early in the morning, with the best experts.

Additionally, the wise words of two of the Kodokan 10th Dans, Abe Ichiro and Daigo Toshiro, can be heard.

“This episode will make you dive into ancient and modern Japan,” an IJF statement reads.

“From the north and beautiful snowy countryside to Tokyo, the city that never sleeps, you will understand why judo is much more than a sport.”

The Art of Judo series, which also seeks to demonstrate how the sport has become a universal activity and an educational tool worldwide, is to be divided into four episodes.

Judo for the World Series continues to focus on game’s importance in Japan as prepares for Tokyo Olympic 2020

The IJF intends to produce the last film in Tokyo 2020, just before the Olympic 2020 Games scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9.

The first episode was filmed in autumn and featured the founder of judo, Master Kanō Jigorō.  filmed in summer and highlighted the passion of youth for judo.

The 2019 World Judo Championships are due to be held at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan venue from August 25 to September 1.

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