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All Eyes Are On Baku As Azerbaijan Readies To Host World Judo Championships

By Timucin Turksoy September 13, 2018

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An episode from the Budapest Grand Prix, August 2018, Budapest, Hungary / International Judo Federation

This year’s largest global judo sporting event will take place in Baku from September 20 – 27, as the 2018 World Judo Championships Seniors get ready to converge on the city with over 800 male and female competitors from around the world. 

In the Individual and Mixed Teams categories 503 men and 317 women judokas, or judo athletes, from 132 countries across five continents will hit the mats at the National Gymnastics Arena in Azerbaijan’s capital over eight days. Four countries from the Caspian region – Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Russia – will be represented.

Azerbaijan’s squad is comprised of 15 judokas, with nine men and six women athletes. Iran is sending four men to the competition, while Kazakhstan plans to send nine men and eight women. Russia will send the largest team, with nine men and nine women. 

The International Judo Federation (IJF), the world’s judo governing body, considers the World Judo Championships as its most important event. The World Judo Championships are on a par with the Olympic judo competition, in the light of its significance and quality. The championships are organized and supervised once every year by the IJF except in the years when Olympic Summer Games are held.

The mixed judo competitions in Baku will be the 19th edition of their kind since the games first began in West Germany in 1987. The 2018 World Judo Championships overlap with the start of qualifications rounds for the 2020 Olympic Summer Games, which will be held in Tokyo, and provide essential license points for qualifying.

Practiced today by more than 20 million individuals across the globe, judo is considered the most popular combat sport in the world. Judo falls behind only football (soccer) as the world’s most popular sport.