British Judo will host the 2017 IBSA European Judo Championships from Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 August in Walsall at the University of Wolverhampton, Sports Complex.

Great Britain last hosted the IBSA European Judo Championships in 2011 in Crawley and follows on from a successful 2016 Visually Impaired Judo Grand Prix, also held in Walsall.

The Championship will also be followed by a three-day training camp giving Europe’s best VI judoka the opportunity to train alongside some of Britain’s top sighted judoka at the British Judo Centre of Excellence.

The European Championships will be one of the highlights of the IBSA Judo calendar for 2017 with a number of Paralympians, including Rio medallists, expected to compete. This will also be the first opportunity for Britain’s VI judoka to pick up world-ranking points in the Tokyo 2020 cycle.

Hull judoka Chris Skelley, who came fifth at -100kg in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, is looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd:

“It’s brilliant that we’ll have the chance to fight in front of a home crowd at a major international event this year. Fighting in Rio last year we all saw how important home support was for the Brazilian players and I think it’ll make a big difference fighting in Great Britain at the Europeans.

“It’s also really good for our family and friends to have a major championship on home soil as they don’t get many opportunities to see us compete at an international level so that will be a nice change.

“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.”

Chris Skelley (blue) fighting at the 2016 GB VI Judo Grand Prix. Credit: Mike Varey, elitepix

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 Grand Prix last year, I know they were very keen on us hosting one of their events in 2017.

“From a coaching perspective it’s really good to have a major championship for our athletes to build towards this year and the fact that it’s on home soil makes it even better. We’re aiming to put in a really strong performance in front of a home crowd and lay down a marker for the Tokyo cycle.”

Nigel Donohue, British Judo Performance Director, said:

“We’re looking forward to hosting the 2017 IBSA European Judo Championships this summer. It’ll be a great opportunity for our judoka to compete in front of a home crowd and we’re sure they’ll put on a good show for the British supporters.

“I’d like to thank the University of Wolverhampton for their support in hosting the Championships this summer and to British Blind Sport for supporting our bid. I’d also like to thank IBSA for giving us this opportunity and the British Paralympic Association for their continued support.”

Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said:

“It is a real honour for the University to be hosting such a high profile event in the judo calendar at its Walsall Campus. We have hosted British Judo’s Centre of Excellence at the campus for a number of years and look forward to elite judo players from across Europe coming to Walsall and using our facilities.”

As part of the announcement British Judo have launched a hub page for the European Championships which will be updated over the coming months as we build-up to the event!