Who are the top Olympic Judokas at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021? When and where will Olympic Judo take place?

Find out here.

Judo is one of 33 disciplines that will take place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games this Summer. But, who are the athletes to watch at the 2021 showpiece? When will the competition take place and, where will it be held? Here’s our guide on everything to know about Olympic Judo.

Olympic Judo Schedule at Tokyo 2020

The competition will take place from the 24 to 31 July 2021. However, the mixed event will occur on the last day.

Check here for the complete schedule (all times are in Japan Standard Time).

Olympic Judo Venue

Judo at Tokyo 2020 will take place at the Nippon Budokan which, also hosted the Judo competitions at the Olympic Games in 1964. More recently, it has staged the 2019 Judo World Championships which, served as a Tokyo 2020 test event.

Olympic Judo Competition Format

A total of 386 athletes (193 men and 193 women) will qualify. There is approximately 28 Judokas in each weight class (7 for men and 7 for women). Each country can enter only one athlete per class.

Judo competitions will be in the form of a single-elimination tournament to determine the gold and silver medallists. The field will be split into two tables, with the winner from both tables advancing to the gold medal match. The top eight Judokas in each weight class will be seeded, in order to avoid top competitors facing each other early in the tournament.

The losers of the four quarter-final matches will move into the repechage. The winners of the two repechage matches then advance to separate bronze medal matches, where they will each face the loser of the semi-final from the opposite table.

The mixed team event will make its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games. In this format, teams of three male Judoka (under 73kg, under 100kg, and over 100kg) and three female Judokas (under 57kg, under 78kg, and over 78kg) drawn from the individual competition, will join forces to become the inaugural Olympic Judo Team Champions.

Top Olympic Judokas at Tokyo 2020

Japan is the country where Judo was born and their athletes are expected to win most of the Olympic medals in front of their home crowd.

At the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo, home Judokas topped the medal table with a total of 16 medals (including five golds), with second-ranked France claiming six medals (three golds). 

Ono Shohei will likely be the favourite in the -73 kg class which, is arguably the most competitive weight division. The reigning Olympic and World Champion’s main rival will probably be Rustam Orujov of Azerbaijan, who claimed silver in Rio. The Abe siblings, Hifumi and Uta, are considered the other home Judo stars.

Double World Champion Hifumi recently took Japan’s Olympic spot in the -66 kg, after beating teammate Maruyama Joshiro in an epic one-off bout. His sister Uta has won the last two world titles in the -52 kg, losing only once in the last three years, against France’s Amandine Bouchard at the Osaka Grand Slam in November 2019.

French Judokas will represent a serious challenge for the local athletes in the individual and mixed team event. Double Olympic Champion Teddy Riner is their undisputed star as he looks to make history in the heavyweight class, by claiming a third consecutive gold.

France’s women’s team look particularly strong, with -63kg four-time World Champion Clarisse Agbegnenou chasing the only major title that has eluded her so far. Another athlete to watch in Tokyo will be Ukraine’s Daria Bilodid who, at just 20 years old, can boast two World Championships and two European titles in the -48 kg class.

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