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IJF Gabriela Sabau / International Judo Federation
A Grand Prix in Azerbaijan will constitute a return to judo and serve as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) says. Competition is due to be held in Baku on May 24 and 25. Baku has been host of the Grand Prix for a number of years and for the last time in 2019. Paralympic Judo has always been stimulated by the Azeri government and Baku was also host of the 2015 European Games including a Paralympic Judo programme.
It will mark the first official IBSA judo contest since January 2020, when the American Championships were held in Montreal in Canada.
“The last year has been a long road full of ups and downs, including re-scheduling competitions only for it not to be possible for them to go ahead,” commented IBSA Judo Committee chair Norbert Biro.
“We are grateful to the Local Organising Committee – the National Paralympic Committee of Azerbaijan – for their flexibility and commitment to hosting this hugely important event.
“We are of course also thankful to the judo community for their understanding and patience while we have been working on starting to get the calendar back on track.
“We are excited that Baku 2021 will mark the return to competition after a long wait.
“As before we will be liaising closely with organisers on ensuring the safety of participants, based around the Back to Competition Guidelines we released in 2020, and monitoring the situation very closely.”
The event was originally a Tokyo 2020 qualifier before it was postponed last year.
National Paralympic Committee of Azerbaijan President Rahimov Ilgar added that the country was “pursuing an effective policy in the fight against COVID-19, which has led to favourable conditions for such events.”
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