IJF World Judo Tour starts tomorrow with the Tel Aviv Grand Prix

The 2020 IJF World Judo Tour kicks off in Tel Aviv for the second successive year on Thursday 23rd and runs until Saturday 25th.

2020 promises to be a fantastic year of judo with the Tokyo Olympic Games in July. Twelve British judoka will head to Israel with their eyes focused on starting the year on a high and gaining valuable Olympic qualification points.

Day 1: Thursday 23rd

The 2019 British Judo male athlete of the year, Ashley McKenzie (-60kg), finished 2019 on a high with a 7th place finish at the Qingdao Masters. McKenzie finished 5th in Tel Aviv 12 months ago and currently sits in 10th place on the Olympic qualification list and will be hoping to amass enough points to secure a top 8 placing come May to ensure he is seeded come the Tokyo Games.

McKenzie, who has been drawn top of Pool D, has an opening round bye and will face the victor of the opening round match between Salih Yildiz (TUR) and Moussa Diop (SEN).

Gregg Varey (-66kg) competes for the first time since claiming silver at the Dakar African Open in November. Varey has been drawn against Yuuki Hashiguchi (JPN) in the opening round.

Chelsie Giles (-52kg) will look to continue her fantastic 2019 form which saw her claim bronze at the European Games in addition to two bronze medals at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and Zagreb Grand Prix.

Giles has been drawn in Pool B, and after an opening round bye, will face Karolina Pienkowska (POL). Giles defeated Pienkowska at the European Games, last year, when the pair last met.

Day 2: Friday 24th

Stuart McWatt (-81kg) had a break through 2019 which saw him place 7th at the European Games as well as gain selection to the World Championships in Tokyo. McWatt has been drawn against Adrian Gandia (PUR) in the opening round.

In the race for qualification at -63kg, where we currently have four judoka in contention to qualify, Lucy Renshall and Lubjana Piovesana will both be in action looking to edge closer to that elusive top qualification spot and securing Olympic qualification come May.

Renshall will be looking for a repeat of her early 2019 form in 2020. She finished 7th at the 2019 Tel Aviv Grand Prix and Paris Grand Slam before taking 2 silver medals at the Prague European Open and Ekaterinburg Grand Slam.

Renshall has an opening round bye in Pool D and will face the victor of the opening round match between Valentina Kostenko (RUS) and Anriquelis Barrios (VEN).

Piovesana finished the 2019 season on a high after finishing 7th at the Qingdao Masters. The 2018 European U23 Champion has an opening round bye and will face Katharina Haecker (AUS) in round 2.

There are just 51 points separating our two -70kg players in the race for Olympic qualification. Sally Conway, who currently edges the brits in the Olympic ranking list, added World Championship bronze to her Olympic, European and Commonwealth medal haul last year. Meanwhile Gemma Howell, in her own words, had the year of her life in 2019, the highlight being back to back gold medals at the Budapest and Zagreb Grand Prix’s.

Conway has been drawn top of Pool C and after an opening round bye will face either Elisavet Teltsidou (GRE) or Ronny Gal (ISR).

Howell will face Gabriella Willems (BEL) in the opening round.

Day 3: Saturday 25th

Frazer Chamberlain (-90kg) made a breakthrough in 2019 after a career best finish of 5th at the European Games. Chamberlain will face Zachary Burt (CAN) in the opening round.

Chris Sherrington (+100kg) made his comeback to judo in 2019 after 3 years away from the sport. A 7th place finish at the Tashkent Grand Prix was backed up with a 5th place finish at the Perth Oceania Open.

Sherrington has an opening round bye and will face Alisher Yusupov (UZB) in the second round.

Natalie Powell (-78kg) currently occupies 3rd on the Olympic world ranking list. She has a consistent 2019 which saw her place at all but two of her competitions and taking bronze medals at the Budapest and Tashkent Grand Prix’s in addition to silver at the Brasilia Grand Slam.

Powell has been drawn top of Pool D and will face Unelle Snyman (RSA) in the opening round.

Sarah Adlington (+78kg) had a 5th and 7th place finish at the Marrakesh Grand Prix and Ekaterinburg Grand Slam before a 7th place finish at the European Games and bronze medal at the Tashkent Grand Prix.

Adlington will face Sandra Jablonskyte (LTU) in the opening round.

Preliminary rounds are due to start at 07:30am on Thursday and Friday and 08:00am on Saturday with Final Block scheduled to start at 03:00pm GMT.

You can watch all the Preliminary and Final Block action unfold live on the British Judo homepage each day.