On the eve of the inaugural Montréal Grand Prix, IJF Media had a chat with Judo Canada President Michael Tamura about this historical first edition.
Judo Canada President Michael Tamura

“It’s actually incredible,” says an excited Michael Tamura. “Without the support of the IJF, the city of Montréal, the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada hosting this major judo event wouldn’t be possible. Hence, Judo Canada is extremely honored to host this Grand Prix in Montréal.”

The choice of bringing a Judo Grand Prix to a hockey crazed city was not a random decision. “Judo is very popular in the province of Quebec. With 10.000 members we have strong presence here in the province,” says Tamura. “We also established some excellent athletes, and everybody has been very supportive of our sport here in Quebec. Especially in the city of Montréal where our national team trains. So, we are extremely excited hosting this event.”

Christa Deguchi (-57kg/CAN) in full action at the Montréal GP

The Judo Canada President also applauds the fact that multiple World and Olympic heavyweight champion Teddy Riner decided the return to competitive action at the Grand Prix in Montréal. “The presence of Teddy Riner is a dream come true for us hosts. We are delighted he decided to start his Olympic adventure for 2020 here in Canada at our Grand Prix. Being it an inaugural one adds even more excitement to it,” Michael Tamura commented.

The two Grand Prix editions in Montréal (2019 & 2020) will also offer some home soil advantage to the Canadian athletes who otherwise are subject to long travels.

The World Judo Tour lands in Canada for the first time

“We established a strategy thanks to our high performance director Nicolas Gill. He’s doing a great job getting us ready for 2020. We are showcasing our athletes at the time we are performing well on the international scene. Everything came together quite well for us. Our athletes are competing quite well on the World Judo Tour internationally and I think the timing couldn’t be better for us to showcase our best athletes here at home. There is some pressure for our athletes performing on home soil. However, for their families who can’t travel to Europe, here they can watch their sons and daughters perform live. That’s undoubtedly an added bonus as well.”

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