Baku is a city familiar with the highest level of judo, having welcomed the judo family to a world championships and no less than 10 World Judo Tour events since their first in 2013. Hospitality pours from every tap and the whole country is proud of their athletes’ achievements.

The opening ceremony for the 2022 Baku Grand Slam took place just prior to the day one final block, beginning with a highlight reel of recent Azerbaijani achievements in the world of judo, followed by an aural parade of the 60 countries in attendance.

The city of Baku, Azerbaijan

The Minister for Youth and Sport, Mr Farid Gayibov welcomed all present and within his speech imparted these important, proud words, “Dear friends, we have many athletes with amazing results. We have staged a world championships as well as the many World Judo Tour events and continue to provide opportunities for our athletes to excel. We thank all the volunteers and fans for their ongoing support.”

Mr Rovshan Rustamov, Vice President of the Azerbaijan Judo Federation continued, “We anticipate that in these 3 days we will witnesses something special and this event will inspire even greater participation in the wonderful sport of judo. We have so many world and Olympic medallists and want to keep providing them with the best stage on which to compete.”

Mr Rustamov noted that when their country's President, Mr Ilham Aliyev was elected to Azerbaijan’s National Olympic Committee, he put a special focus on all sport in Azerbaijan, including judo, “We have a special pride since 1997, since our president's election to the NOC. Judo has always sparked interest, becoming one of the foremost sports in our country. I offer my profound gratitude to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for always supporting sport and healthy lifestyles. Thanks to the Ministry, the NOC and always to the IJF," declared Mr Rustamov.

Dr Laszlo Toth, President of the EJU gave the final speech, “First of all, I bring the best regards of Mr Marius Vizer, the President of the IJF. I send special thanks to the government of Azerbaijan for their support hosting this special tournament.

We offer sincere congratulations to the federation for their 50 year anniversary. And now I declare the ceremony open!

Directly from the speeches and the anthems of Azerbaijan and the International Judo Federation modern dancers took to the tatami and performed a rhythmic piece, including the piecing together of ‘judo’ in the colours of the Azerbaijan flag.

With only minutes to spare before the beginning of the final block, the tatami cleared and the first potential medallists of this grand slam prepared for their last matches of the day.

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