By Sports Reporter/Doha
The stage is all set for the 2021 Doha Masters judo tournament which will kickstart at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall today.
The event, featuring 399 judokas — 215 males, 184 females — from 69 countries, is being organised by the International Judo Federation (IJF) and will be held in 14 weight categories — seven each for men and women.
Olympic champion Teddy Riner headlines the competition which will be held behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 31-year-old, who also has 10 world titles to his name, triumphed at London 2012 and Rio 2016. He also stitched together an unbeaten run of 154 victories that lasted nearly a decade, before the Frenchman was beaten by Japan’s Kokoro Kageura at the Paris Grand Slam last year.
Also featuring in the competition are Idalys Ortiz of Cuba, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist in the +78kg female category; Japan’s Soichi Hashimoto, world No.1 in the lightweight division and four-time World Championships gold medallist; Ukraine’s Daria Bilodid, the 2019 World champion and the 2019 European gold medallist in the 48kg division; and Belgium’s Matthias Casse, the World No.1 in -81kg and the 2019 European Games gold medallist. Other stars on the list include Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist and four-time world champion in the -63kg female category; and Egypt’s Ramadan Darwish, a six-time African champion in -100kg and a bronze medallist at the 2009 World Championship in Rotterdam.
Tunisia’s Nihel Cheikh Rouhou, the gold medallist in the women’s +78kg event at the 2019 African Games held in Rabat, Morocco, is also set to participate in the tournament.
Two Qatari judokas Morad Zamouri and Khalil Rabahi will also compete in the event.
With winners set to be awarded 1,800 world ranking points, the three-day event in the Qatari capital will act as a qualification tournament for this year’s Olympics. Under the revised process for the postponed Tokyo Games, athletes have until June 28 to earn the qualification points.
Competition, whose online draw ceremony was held yesterday, is set to be held with strict health protocols in place.
“I would like to thank His Highness the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the National Olympic Committee, the Asian Judo Union, the Qatari Judo Federation, the sponsors and the media, as well as all the participants of the World Judo Masters, for having done everything in their power to make this major event possible,” IJF president Marius Vizer said on the occasion.
“We are now opening the sports season in Qatar and we will soon also meet for the Grand Slams of Tel Aviv, Tashkent, Tbilisi and Paris, ahead of the World Championships in Budapest in June,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Judo Union of Asia President Obaid al-Anzi said, “I would like to thank the authorities of Qatar and the Judo Federation for the work they have done. It is a great honour for Asia to host such a competition.”
Qatar Taekwondo, Judo and Karate Federation President Khalid Hamad al-Attiyah said: “We are very happy to welcome you to our country. After the organisation of the IJF Refereeing and Coaching Seminar last year and with the 2023 World Championships on the horizon, our goal is to develop judo in order to make it an educational tool for our youth, so that they are ready to live in a fulfilling way. The World Judo Masters will contribute greatly to this.”
The competition will start on Day 1 at 10am, on Day 2 at 11am and on Day 3 at 10am. The finals will be held at 5pm each day.
Today (10am start)
Women: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg
Men: -60kg, -66kg
Tomorrow (11am start)
Women: -63kg, -70kg
Men: -73kg, -81kg
Wednesday (10am start)
Women: -78kg, +78kg
Men: -90kg, -100kg, +100kg
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