Day 2 of the IBSA Grand Prix Heidelberg 2024 was full of action. We saw almost two dozen different nations competing for medals during the final block. Watching closely was IBSA Judo Referee Director and Kodokan Expert, Kenichi Shoshida, who gave us an inside view of his weekend, here in Germany.

“Firstly, this tournament is an important milestone for the Paris Paralympic Games. The top ranked players are trying their techniques because they already have enough points to participate in the Games. Those who are borderline and not sure they will get qualified are the ones fighting more actively and trying hard to win as many contests as possible. With all that in mind, I think that this tournament was more interesting than ever. We had a lot of contests ending with ippon, which was nice to see.

From my position, being also a Kodokan expert, I have been analysing the techniques here and there and I saw a lot of soto-makikomi and ippon-seoi-nage; some good athletes also used uchi-mata. The lighter weight categories tend to use more seoi-nage attacks while today, with the heavier categories, we have seen more soto-makikomi.

It comes as no surprise as these athletes, for the most part, cannot tell where their opponent is visibly and therefore, they get a grip, turn in for soto-makikomi and continue until landing. I must add that some judoka have good standing positions too, from which they can apply uchi-mata and osoto-gari. With these techniques, following the throw, they can keep their balance better. In the end, the majority have shown good transitioning skills. Some of the judoka also had the ability to switch from one osei-komi-waza to another.

We had a perfect referee team here as most of them have experience at IBSA judo events, so they know how to work. We follow the IJF rules and it was nice to see that most referees gave out scores and penalties confidently. This is very important for us, the coaches and the athletes too. As the Paralympics and the referee selections are also approaching, we are watching their work closely and we are very satisfied with it this weekend. They did a great job.

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