Judo at Tokyo 2020

Venue: Nippon Budokan

Competition Dates: July 25-August 1 (Days 1-8)

Events: 15 (7 men, 7 women, 1 mixed)

Men and women each compete in seven events, designated by their upper weight limits (Men: -60kg, -66kg, -73kg, -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg; Women: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg, -70kg, -78kg, +78kg). New at Tokyo 2020 will be a mixed team event, featuring teams of three men (-73kg, -90kg, +90kg) and three women (-57kg, -70kg, +70kg).

Judo was built on three major techniques: throwing (with hand, hip, foot, half-body, and full-body), groundwork (holds, strangulation, locks), and striking (of the upper and lower limbs). The aim in judo is to control the opponent. To do so, athletes apply principles of balance and leverage to throw opponents to the mat on their backs, immobilize opponents on any part of their backs, apply arm-locks to the elbow and choke opponents while avoiding any action that might injure the neck or spine. There is no kicking or punching in judo.

Canada’s Antoine Valois-Fortier battles with Emmanuel Lucenti of Argentina during second-round judo action at the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, August 9, 2016. Valois-Fortier won the match and advanced to the next round. COC Photo/Jason Ransom

All matches are four minutes long with no designated rest periods, but the clock will stop during breaks in action to ensure that the athletes compete for the full four minutes. In a change since 2016, points are now only evaluated as ippon or waza-ari. Ippon is awarded when a judoka throws their opponent on the back, applying a technique or countering the attacking technique with maximum efficiency. There are four criteria for ippon: speed, force, on the back, skillful control until the end of the landing. If those four criteria are not fully achieved, waza-ari is awarded. Two waza-ari are equal to one ippon. A 10-second immobilization is scored as waza-ari but a 20-second immobilization is ippon. Once ippon has been given, the match is over.

In each weight class, competitors are divided into four pools by draw, although the top eight ranked judokas in each category are seeded to ensure they do not face each other until the round of 16. The four judokas who lose in the quarterfinals get a second chance at the podium through the single-elimination repechage. The winners of the two repechages face the losing semifinalists in the two bronze medal matches while the winning semifinalists compete for gold and silver.

Canada’s Olympic History (Pre-Tokyo 2020) 

Team Canada’s Christa Deguchi and Jessica Klimkait in the women’s 57kg final at the Judo Grand Prix in Hohhot, China (Photo: Sabau Gabriela)

Doug Rogers won Canada’s first Olympic judo medal when the sport made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 1964, taking heavyweight silver. Two decades later, Mark Berger added a heavyweight bronze at Los Angeles 1984. Nicolas Gill became Canada’s most successful Olympic judoka with his two medals, bronze at Barcelona 1992 and silver at Sydney 2000, before coaching the country’s most recent Olympic medallist, Antoine Valois-Fortier, who won half-middleweight bronze at London 2012.