Paralympic Judo is open to athletes with blindness/visual impairment in several weight categories. The key elements of judo are balance, touch, sensitivity, and instinct, all of which are highly developed qualities possessed by athletes with a visual impairment Judo demands extreme physical and strategic performance and competitors must use different techniques to overcome or immobilize their opponent.
The objective of Judo is to score an ippon (a score equal to 10 points), awarded for a successful technique, or to score more points than ones opponent. Lesser scores can be awarded when a technique does not merit an ippon. If neither of the judokas (judo competitors) complete an ippon by the end of the match, the winner is the one with the highest score.
Two judokas (judo competitors) compete for five minutes. A combatant must combine quick moves with strength and agility in order to score points. Athletes must maintain balance and reaction while countering an opponent’s rush. Point-scoring moves in attack and counterattack. Throwing techniques and ground holds include hold downs, arm locks, and choke holds. Kicking and punching are not permitted.
The only differences between Olympic and Paralympic Judo is that judokas with visual impairments have contact with their opponent before the start of the match and the mat used has different textures to indicate zones and the competition area.
Judo is governed by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) and follows the International Judo Federation (IJF) rules used at other top-level, able-bodied judo events, with slight modifications for athletes with a visual impairment. For more detailed information on Judo, visit www.ibsa.es. Canada’s National Sport Federation for the sport is Judo Canadawww.judocanada.org.
All Judo athletes with a visual impairment compete together in one class in the appropriate weight category, regardless of classification. This means that a blind athlete (B1) will compete against partially sighted athletes (B3 or B2), provided they are in the same weight category.
In judo, athletes are classified according to three levels of visual impairment: B1, B2 and B3.
- B1: Athletes have a total absence of perception of the light in both eyes, or some perception of the light but with inability to recognize the form of a hand at any distance and in any direction.
- B2: Athletes have ability to recognize the form of a hand to a visual acuity of 2/60 and/or a visual field of less than five degrees.
- B3: Athletes have a visual acuity of above 2/60 to a visual acuity of 6/60 and/or a visual field or more than five degrees and less than 20 degrees.
Judo was initially developed as a Japanese martial art activity for practising mobility-related skills, self-confidence, self-discipline and independence. Rooted in several martial arts practices, judo gradually established itself at the competitive sport level.
It was first included on the Paralympic programme at the 1988 Seoul Paralympic Games. Women first competed in Judo at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. The sport is now widely practiced by male and female athletes in more than 30 countries
(Source: CPC and IPC)