"We follow the IJF qualification process and therefore, as with the IJF, our Paralympic qualification spans two years. During the final twelve months, the points count at 100%, like in the IJF. It's exactly the same.
Over those two important years, we organise 19 events. It's less than the World Judo Tour but compared to the past, it has been a massive move forward. Now all our athletes have a lot of chances to participate and qualify for the Paralympic Games.
Once again, here in Baku, we are working hand in hand with the IJF to offer the best conditions to our competitors. We will have another joined event in Tokyo in December. We will also organise continental events in China and Latin America this year, to give equal chances to everyone.
Next year, we will also have three high level competitions: one in Germany in February, one in Türkiye together with the IJF and one in Baku again at the end of May. We like to come here or go to Türkiye because we work with very experienced organisers. From the accommodation to the transport and of course the competition itself, everything runs smoothly.
I can tell you that the Paralympic qualification is going very well so far. I am happy to see more and more smaller judo nations taking part. In Baku, Indonesia is participating for the second time and India, for instance, is building some positive momentum too.
Today we have approximately 440 athletes who are in our world ranking list, half of them are in the J1 category where an athlete’s vision impairment must result in a visual acuity of less than or equal to LogMAR 2.6 in binocular vision, meaning that they don't see at all. We can say that we are a real Paralympic sport.
Para-judo had two important steps in its development. The first was when judo was included within the Paralympic movement in Seoul in 1988 for the men and in Athens 2004 for the women. The second crucial step was when we divided into J1 and J2 categories after the Tokyo Paralympic Games. This change has had a fantastic impact on our sport.
Here in Baku we have 36 participating nations and 198 athletes. This is great and Baku is definitely the place to be right now for those who want to go to the Paris 2024 Paralympics."