Lights, Action, Camera! What an opening ceremony it was, the hosts putting every effort into entertaining the spectators and welcome the delegations. It began with a video of highlights from Uzbekistan’s judo achievements, medal after medal on display proving that Uzbekistan is now among the major judo nations of the world.

Next, traditional dances and musical performances were a feast of colour and sound filling the Humo Arena. It was noted that almost 500 judoka from 68 countries have gathered in Tashkent for this 3rd year of the grand slam tournament being held in Uzbekistan. A parade of flags around the arena was testament to the universality of the event.

IJF Director General Vlad Marinescu gave the first welcome address, accompanied on stage by Dr Adkham Ikramov, Minister of Sports for the Republic of Uzbekistan, vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia Mr Otabek Umarov, and Judo Federation of Uzbekistan president Mr Azizjon Kamilov.

“Distinguished guests, it is with great privilege that I stand before you for this opening ceremony. I remember two years ago the world championship being here in this arena; I have some great and amazing memories. I remember when Uzbekistan won its first gold at that world championship and the president presented the medals; a great leader of a great nation. We send our respect, gratitude and appreciation to him. Sport is an important component of societies around the world and I would like to thank the president of Uzbekistan for his commitment to sport.

IJF Director General Vlad Marinescu

We are here with almost 500 judoka united while also competing for places at the Paris Olympic Games. The Uzbek team is having great success and so congratulations to President Kamilov for his tireless dedication to the national team. I had the great privilege to enjoy at the Asian Games the best ever result for Uzbekistan. This is all a direct result of the work of Uzbekistan’s president, the federation president and that of Mr Otabek Umarov and Dr Adkham Ikramov.

On behalf of IJF president Mr Marius Vizer, thank you to all our partners and sponsors. Good luck to all the athletes participating here. Thank you.”

Dr Adkham Ikramov, Minister of Sports for the Republic of Uzbekistan

Dr Adkham Ikramov then spoke to those assembled, “Dear distinguished guests, dear athletes and coaches, we are glad to see you at this grand slam tournament in Tashkent. Our president, Mr Shavkat Mirziyoyev, is carrying out a number of reforms in our country, aimed at strengthening the promotion of physical culture and sports, towards a healthy lifestyle. As a result, the number of athletes is constantly growing every year. As you know, together with the International Judo Federation, we have opened several judo schools in different regions of Uzbekistan and we are confident that this project will soon yield results.

We can be proud that Uzbekistan has many years of experience hosting IJF tournaments and this is the third time this grand slam has been organised. I think that the support of fans and media representatives is very important for the national team, delivering motivation for victories at home.

There were 49 countries and 364 participants at the last grand slam but now close to 500 participants from nearly 70 countries have come to this tournament. We expect this tournament to be a highlight on the calendar. This sporting event will be a great celebration for fans because the best judo

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the participants and I wish good luck to all judoka and an unforgettable visit to Uzbekistan. I declare this Tashkent Grand Slam 2024 open!

A choir in national dress then sung a beautiful live rendition of the national anthem of the Republic of Uzbekistan. This was followed by the IJF anthem, closing the ceremony just in time for the final block to begin.

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