The first year of Olympic qualification has raced by with electrifying judo, the creation of new stars and new events in new locations propelling the sport forward on the global stage.
With exactly one year left in the qualification process, and points from competitions now counting 100% towards qualification, everything will intensify in Hohhot this weekend.
Hohhot is hosting its third Grand Prix and this leg of the IJF World Judo Tour will be the most pivotal event on the calendar so far this year.
While judoka are preoccupied with Olympic qualification and dreaming of Tokyo 2020, the countdown to this year’s World Championships has just breached the 100-day mark and the world is counting down the days until judo returns home for the flagship event of the IJF tour.
Hohhot has attracted Olympic and world champions with a star-studded entry for China’s premier judo event with 301 judoka (159 men, 142 women) set to compete from 43 countries.
World champions and 2018 Hohhot Grand Prix winners ABE Uta (JPN) and CHO Guham (KOR) will compete on day one and day three respectively while Olympic champion Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) and former Olympic champions Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) and NAIDAN Tuvshinbayar (MGL) will also fight on day three.
The official draw took place at the Juva Grand Hotel on Thursday afternoon and was opened by IJF Competition Manager, Dr. Lisa ALLAN (below - centre).
“Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, good afternoon, it’s always a pleasure to be with you again, I want to wish you a heartfelt welcome from the IJF and its president Mr. Marius L. VIZER, we are extremely grateful to CJA President XIAN Dongmei and the Inner Mongolia Judo Federation. I wish all of the participants good luck.”
Ms. XIAN Dongmei (above - centre), CJA President and IJF Hall of Famer, said: “Distinguished guests, dear leaders, dear friends, on behalf of CJA I would like to extend a very warm welcome to you all here to Hohhot. This Grand Prix will be a great event that counts towards the qualification of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. I’d like to say my thanks to the IJF for their support and we are confident of hosting a successful event. I wish all judoka a wonderful competition here in China.”
Mr. LU Chao, Inner Mongolian Sport Centre Director, said: “Distinguished leaders, dear guests, referees and friends, good afternoon. On behalf of the organising committee, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you. I would like to thank the CJA and IJF for their hard work and trust in Hohhot to stage this prestigious competition.”
Watch #JudoHohhot here on the IJF website from 24-26 May.