On the first World Blind Sports Day, British Judo are delighted to announce that they will host the rescheduled IBSA Visually Impaired Grand Prix in June 2021 at the University of Warwick Sports and Wellness Hub.
The Grand Prix will be the final event in the Paralympic Games Qualifying cycle before the Games at the home of judo, Tokyo.
Originally scheduled to be hosted in Nottingham in 2020 before the global pandemic forced the cancellation of the event, Warwick will host two fantastic days of visually impaired judo across the 19th-20th June.
Great Britain has a successful history of staging international visually impaired judo competitions having hosted the 2017 European Championships at the University of Wolverhampton, after successfully staging a Grand Prix in 2016 at the same venue.
With just under five months until judo heads “home” to Tokyo, all eyes will be on Warwick with major qualification points on offer and Paralympic places still very much up for grabs.
Hull judoka and current World No.1 Chris Skelley scooped Gold at the European Championships in 2017 in front of friends and family and is delighted to once again be competing on home turf.
“It’s brilliant that we’ll have the chance to fight in Great Britain at a major international event this year. Fighting in Walsall in 2017, we all saw how important home support was for the British players and I think it’ll make a big difference to all of the guys in the squad.
“Even though the event will be behind closed doors, I know all of our friends and family will be watching and cheering us on from home.
“We’ve got the next five months to prepare now and I honestly cannot wait. I think it’ll be a great event and a really important stepping stone on the road to Tokyo.”
Paralympic Head Coach Ian Johns is looking forward to preparing his athletes for another major championship:
“I can’t wait. As a sport I think it’s great that IBSA have shown so much faith in us and after hosting the Europeans in 2017, I know they were very keen on us hosting one of their events in the build up to Tokyo!”
“From a coaching perspective it’s really good to have a big event on home soil for our athletes to build towards this year. We’re aiming to put in a really strong performance and lay down a marker ahead of our travels to Tokyo.”
Paul Bartlett, Director of Warwick Conferences, said:
“We are thrilled to welcome British Judo and IBSA to our state-of-the-art Sport Hub to host such a prestigious competition. Our team has been working incredibly hard to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all delegates is protected, with strict measures in place throughout the weekend. Our events team will of course be on hand to ensure the weekend runs smoothly and we wish everyone competing the best of luck.”
Esther Britten, Head of Major Events at UK Sport said: “As we build toward Tokyo 2021, we are proud that this Grand Prix will be hosted in the UK as part of our National Lottery funded programme of major events.”.”