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London 2012 Olympics qualifying: Judo


Burton and Fallon's guide to judo

How qualification works:

7 MAY 2010
Start of Olympic qualification period - results from this point affect Olympic rankings
23-28 AUGUST 2011
World Championships in Paris
1 MAY 2012
End of qualification period - Olympic rankings published and places assigned

There are 14 judo medals available at London 2012, involving seven weight categories for both men and women. Each nation can qualify one athlete per event.

Qualifying in judo is based almost entirely on the world ranking list prepared by governing body the IJF on 1 May 2012.

For each men's event, the top 22 athletes in the rankings (abiding by the one-per-country rule) all directly qualify for the Olympics. For the women, that number is 14 athletes.

If a nation has more than one judo player - or judoka - in the top 22 or 14 depending on gender, that nation must select the judoka it wishes to qualify. The other(s) are excluded and the search goes on until 22 (or 14) different countries are represented.

Importantly and unusually among Olympic sports, each qualification place earned goes directly to the judoka, not the country. So a judoka earning a place at London 2012 keeps it - it cannot be assigned to another athlete by their governing body.

After this first phase of qualifying, the ranking list is again used to qualify the next-best athletes on a continental basis.

Each continent - divided up as Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Pan-America - gets its own continental ranking list of judoka who have yet to qualify.

This list is used to add 25 more entrants from Europe, 24 from Africa, 21 from Pan-America, 20 from Asia and 10 from Oceania.

However, in this phase, only one athlete per country can qualify across all weight categories and both genders.

To take Europe as an example, where 50 countries could feasibly qualify an athlete, 25 different countries will end up filling those 25 continental places. This ensures a large number of countries get the chance to take part in the Games.

In addition to this, there is a maximum of two athletes per continent, per category at this stage. (For example, Africa can only send a maximum of two athletes to the women's -48kg event using this method, regardless of which countries they come from.)

There are 20 further invitational places on offer, which will be confirmed between May and July 2012.

Euan Burton (left)
Euan Burton remains a leading British judo talent in the run-up to 2012

How are British competitors doing?

British judoka receive one place in each of the 14 categories by virtue of hosting the Olympic tournament - the maximum allocation possible.

By that dint, the only challenge for GB's athletes is to stamp their authority on the one place available in each event.

The IJF's world rankings, when they close in May 2012, will take into account all performances from the past two years, i.e. back to May 2010.

While British performances are irrelevant from a qualification point of view with the maximum quota already sealed, this means GB's stars are going up against rivals already fighting to up their ranking ahead of the Games.

The 2010 World Judo Championships, held in Tokyo from 9-13 September, were the last major gauge of British performance on the global stage, and saw Euan Burton (men's -81kg) pick up a bronze medal.

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see also
Burton and Fallon's guide to judo
23 May 08 |  Judo

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