Your judo guide to 2016

2016 is going to be a big year for judo with the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place over the summer. But that’s not all, this guide to 2016 covers everything from our elite judoka to our national events and coaching courses! Read on for more…


All eyes on Rio...

London 2012 will be a tough act to follow in terms of British support, but our judoka will be hoping to capture the imagination of the nation this summer.

2016 promises to be a big year for the sport with judo making it’s thirteenth appearance at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (6th-12th August) and its eighth appearance at the Paralympic Games (8th-10th September) later this year. 

Before then athletes from across the world will be battling for those all-important qualification points. The first British medal of the year has already been won with Team Bath’s Gary Hall bringing home a bronze medal at the African Open in Tunis (16-17th January). Many players will be looking forward to the first Grand Slam of the year in Paris (6th-7th February). 

Gemma Gibbons competing at the Paris Grand Slam last yearNigel Donohue, Performance Director said: “The Paris Grand Slam is the most prestigious event in World Judo and even more important in Olympic year with this being the ‘last global event’ before Rio. 

“We’ll expect that the World’s best will be on show chasing valuable Olympic Qualification points, but also knowing that the Paris Grand Slam is a great opportunity to make your mark six months out from the Games”. 

At the time of writing Great Britain currently has 11 athletes (Nekoda Davis (-57kg), Ashley McKenzie (-60kg), Alice Schlesinger (-63kg), Colin Oates (-66kg), Sally Conway (-70kg), Natalie Powell and Gemma Gibbons (both -78kg (only one can represent Great Britain in Rio) Sarah Adlington (+78kg) Owen Livesey (-81kg) and Ben Fletcher (-100kg)), that are in direct qualification places for Rio with Andy Burns (-90kg) also currently qualified via the continental quota. Danny Williams is also just outside the qualification places in the -73kg category. 

Currently seventh on the World ranking, Sally Conway is excited about a challenging few months ahead: “I’m looking forward to the year ahead but I’m also really enjoying the journey. I represented Team GB in the London Olympics which was amazing. I was very proud and honoured to be able to represent my country in such huge multi-sport event. To be part of Team GB in two Olympic Games would be pretty special and a big achievement for me”. 

Britain’s Visually Impaired judoka will also have a chance to reacquaint themselves with Rio before the Paralympic Games in September, when they compete at the Rio Grand Prix in March. Shortly after they’ll be heading to the Rio Test Event, which will give some of our British Olympic and Paralympic judoka a chance to test out the Carioca Arena. 

Jonathan ‘Jono’ Drane (-81kg) is looking forward to the prospect of competing in Rio ahead of the Games and having an injury free 2016: “Having to compete in both a visually impaired and non-visually impaired competition over a short period of time will be stressful. However, it’s all building towards a bigger picture and it’s all building towards a bigger picture and performance. I’m pretty excited about the year ahead and I’ve got a new ‘ish’ knee to play with”. 

The European Judo Championships will take place in Kazan in April and our British judoka will be looking for big qualification points to cement their places on the World ranking lists. 

If invited Natalie Powell will be hoping to go one better at the 2016 World Masters event in Guadalajara, Mexico in May. 

The IJF World Ranking List on the 30th May will be used to allocate the 352 qualification places for the Olympic Games. 

Athletes selected by Team GB and Paralympics GB to represent Great Britain at the Olympic and Paralympic Games will then do some final preparation at training camps in the build up to Rio.


Competitions and Events

Outside of the Rio 2016 qualification opportunities, there are a number of competitions and events in the judo calendar for all levels. 

High Wycombe will also be hosting the first National Dan Grading of the year on the 6th February, with a further five scheduled for the rest of the year. 

Judoka at last year's National Inclusion Training Day

Disabled, visually impaired and judoka with special needs will come together, alongside coaches, for the National Inclusion Training Day, taking place on 6th February at the British Judo Centre of Excellence in Walsall. The Inclusion Day provides a national training session for senior and junior players (including under 8s), visually impaired players, players with disabilities and GB SN Squad players. 

The best of Britain’s student judoka will come together to compete at the 2016 BUCS Judo Championships in Sheffield on 20th-21st February, with invites to the European University Games on offer for gold and silver medallists.

Chair of British Judo Inclusion Commission, Sara Hayes said: “2016 is another big year for Inclusion Judo. We will all be getting behind our Paralympic athletes in Rio this summer, and, closer to home, we have the National Special Needs Championships taking place on 27th August this year, at the iconic Stoke Mandeville Stadium. In the meantime, the National Special Needs School Games takes place on 3rd July this year, all students up to the age of 21 years old are now included, so get your entries in!”.

This year’s English Open will be hosted by the Eastern Area in March. 

The start of April will see the return of British Judo’s biggest event by number of entries – the British Schools Championships, which will be taking place at the EIS in Sheffield. The event will be taking place over two days which sees the maximum number of entries increased to 750, making it the biggest Schools Championships in recent years. 

British Masters players will have high hopes for more medals at the 2016 Veterans European Championships taking place in Porec, Croatia in June, following on from last year’s gold, two silvers and a bronze. 

The Midlands Area will be hosting this year’s National Teams Championship. Scotland will be looking to retain their Junior Girls and Senior Men titles, while the London and South Areas will be defending Senior Womens and Junior Boys titles respectively. 

September will see the 2016 Junior European Championships taking place in Malaga, Spain. Last year saw great success for the team with three medals, including Lucy Renshall’s gold, and three fifth place finishes. 

Stuart McWatt (-81kg) is hoping for a successful trip to Spain: “I got fifth last year, I was gutted not to get into the final but my aim would be to win this year or at least get in the medals. I’ve got a few senior competitions I’m doing this year too but this is a chance to go up against the best European juniors so it’ll be a good test”. 

In October the Glasgow European Open will be returning to the Emirates Arena for the fourth year in succession. This year will see a change to the format of the event with a Men’s and a Women’s event scheduled to run over the two days. Previously, the event hosted either a Men’s or Women’s event in alternate years. 

The curtain will come down on 2016 with the Pre-Cadet, Cadet, Junior and Senior British Championships at the EIS, Sheffield in December (exact dates TBC).

British Judo Events Manager James Sills: “In 2016 we are hosting some very exciting events these include the British Schools Championships, European Open for men and women and the first VI Grand Prix to be held in the UK. 

Over the past three years the British Schools Championships has reached its maximum capacity and this year we have again increased the entry places available to 750 young judoka. This follows a successful circuit of Regional Schools competitions offering additional competitions for developing judoka. 

“At the time of writing we are working on a bid to host a VI Grand Prix competition in June which will offer our fantastic VI squad an opportunity to prepare for the Paralympics on home soil before they head of to Rio. 

After Rio we will be hosting the Glasgow European Open on the 15th and 16th October. This year we will host men and women competitions. This is an exciting opportunity for us to attract some of the world’s leading junior players as they make the transition into senior competition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic cycle”. 


Coaching and Refereeing

Candidates on the 2015 Level 4 Coaching CourseBritish Judo’s 2016 Coach Education programme with the first three Level 1 courses taking place in February in Merseyside, Tyne and Wear and Taunton. The first Level 2 course of the year taking place in Tynemouth will kick off in March. 

The Level 3 course starts in early June with further weekend blocks of training in June, August, October and November. 

In refereeing the first course of the year will be taking place in January at Warrington Warjukwai Judo Club. 

Coaching and Education Manager, Joyce Heron: “This coming year will mark the fifth year of UKCC Level 3 in June and third year of UKCC Level 4 in September. Focus is on the development of performing coaches stretching across a number of domains from recreational children’s to competitive performance coaching environments”.


Association key Dates

2015 Annual Awards Dinner Finalists

The first issue of Matside Magazine for 2016 will start to be sent out to members from the 15th February with three further issues to follow later in the year. 

The British Judo AGM will take place on the first weekend in November along with the Annual Awards Dinner which will be celebrating it’s 10th year. This year it will also coincide with Bonfire Night so stay tuned for more details! 

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Summary of confrimed dates for Judo in 2016

Date Event
6th February National Inclusion Training Day
6th February First National Dan Grading event of 2016
6th-7th February Paris Grand Slam
13th February 2016 Coach Education programme begins
15th February First issue of Matside Magazine released
20th-21st February BUCS Judo Championships
8th-9th March Rio 2016 Test Event March
13th March English Open
2nd-3rd April British Schools Championships
21st-24th April  European Championships
27th-29th May World Masters
30th May Qualification period for Rio 2016 Olympics finishes

4th-5th June

VI Grand Prix, Walsall
23rd-26th June  Veteran European Judo Championships
3rd July National Special Needs School Games
6th-12th August Judo event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
27th August National Special Needs Championships
1st-4th September  School Games, Loughborough
8th-10th September Judo event at the Rio 2016 Paralympics
16th-18th September 2016 Junior European Championships
15th-16th October European Open in Glasgow
5th November British Judo AGM
5th November  10th British Judo Annual Awards Dinner
December British Pre-Cadet, Cadet, Junior and Senior Championships

All details correct at the time of writing