Two Qatari judokas Morad Zamouri and Khalil Rabahi will compete in the International Judo Federation (IJF) Doha Masters 2021, which will kick off from Monday at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall. The delegations participating in the three-day competition started arriving yesterday.
The 2020 Tokyo Games qualifying event will feature 401 athletes – 215 male and 186 female – from 70 countries representing five continental federations namely the African Judo Union, Judo Union of Asia, and European Judo Union, Oceania Judo Union and Pan-American Judo Confederation.
The event is also part of the World Judo Tour. The tournament will feature competition in seven categories for both men and women. For the men, participants will contest in the -60kg, -66kg, -73kg, -81kg, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories while the women will be in action in the -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg, -70kg, -78kg and +78kg categories.
Top on the list of stars featuring in Doha is France’s Teddy Riner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and ten-time world champion in the +100kg (the first and only judoka, male or female, to do so). In his 13-year career as a professional judoka, Riner was only defeated eight times in elite international championships.
Also on the cards are Idalys Ortiz of Cuba, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist in the +78kg female category; Japan’s Soichi Hashimoto, world No.1 in the lightweight division and four-time World Championships gold medallist; Ukraine’s Daria Bilodid, the 2019 World champion and the 2019 European gold medallist in the 48kg division; and Belgium’s Matthias Casse, the World No.1 in -81kg and the 2019 European Games gold medallist.
Other stars on the list include Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist and four-time world champion in the -63 kg female category; and Egypt’s Ramadan Darwish, a six-time African champion in -100kg and a bronze medallist at the 2009 World Championship in Rotterdam. Tunisia’s Nihel Cheikh Rouhou, the gold medallist in the women’s +78kg event at the 2019 African Games held in Rabat, Morocco, is also set to participate in the tournament.
Secretary-General of the Qatar Taekwondo, Judo & Karate Federation (QTJKF) and director of the organising committee Eid al-Muraikhi said: “We are delighted to welcome the world to Doha once again. We are proud to host of this important tournament which is a qualifying event for the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Games. The tournament is happening in an unusual time occasioned by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Still, Qatar is more than ready to provide the strictest health protocols to the athletes and officials taking part in the prestigious event. The safety of everyone is our topmost priority, and all measures will not be spared, in partnership with the health authorities, to ensure an incident-free tournament.
He added: We are quite aware that we need to put in a lot of effort to meet the specific needs and expectations of all our stakeholders. We are very pleased to welcome our best judokas and guests in our hospitable city of Doha. Doha has always been a lively and dynamic place to discover and stage high-performance events. We are very grateful to our highest authorities for all their continued backing.”
The Doha Masters precedes the World Championships which Qatar will host in 2023.
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