The only martial art in the Paralympics, judo combines tactical skill, strength and decisive movement.
British Judo’s performance programme for visually impaired (VI) athletes is recognised internationally as a highly coveted model for success in Paralympic judo.
Since London 2012, Britain’s VI judoka have won a number of medals at both major World and European competitions, with Sam Ingram retaining his European Championship title in 2013 before adding 2015 World Games silver and European Championship bronze to his sizeable medal collection.
Three new members of the team have risen through the rankings since London 2012. Jono Drane (-81kg), Chris Skelley (-100kg) and Jack Hodgson (+100kg) have all impressed on the international stage in the last two years.
Jono Drane took home an impressive World Championship bronze in 2014, while Hodgson and Skelley won silver and bronze respectively at the 2015 World Games. This was a particularly impressive feat for Skelley, who dislocated his hip just six weeks before competition.
Hodgson and Skelley rounded off their 2015 by winning European Championship bronze medals in Portugal alongside Ingram.
The team will be hoping to build on the success of ParalympicsGB's judoka in London, with Sam Ingram and Ben Quilter flying the flag for Great Britain as they each claimed a silver and a bronze medal.
Quilter approached London 2012 as reigning World and European Champion in the -60kg category. Preparations were going well, before a knee injury in the immediate lead-up to the Games hurt his chances of gold. Despite the setback, Quilter proved his class by winning all matches except one to come away with a deserved bronze medal.
Ingram, ParalympicsGB's sole judo medallist in Beijing, was also hotly tipped for a podium place in the -90 category after claiming an impressive European gold at the same 2011 Championships as Quilter. In a tense final, he missed out on Paralympic gold by the narrowest of margins, instead claiming silver after losing to Jorge Hierrezuelo Marcillis of Cuba.
GB’s VI judoka are fully integrated with their Olympic counterparts and train as part of the World Class Performance Programme in Walsall.
First year at a Paralympic Games:
Seoul 1988 (men)
Athens 2004 (women)
Judo is currently the only martial art in the Paralympic Games, with classifications for visually impaired athletes. The main aim is to score the “ultimate ippon”. This can be gained via throwing, holding or submission. VI judo follows the same rules as Olympic judo except the judoka start in a gripped stance.
Eligible impairment groups:
Athletes who have a visual impairment are eligible provided they come under three classifications determined by IBSA/IPC (further information below)
London medal table:
1 - Ukraine (three gold, zero silver, two bronze)
2 - Cuba (two gold, zero silver, two bronze)
3 - Azerbaijan (two gold, zero silver, one bronze)
11 = Great Britain (one silver, one bronze)
GB medals in London:
Sam Ingram, silver, -90kg
Ben Quilter, bronze, -60kg
Did you know:
The Paralympic programme is fully integrated with the Olympic programme and both train together at the British Judo Centre of Excellence in Walsall.
Rio 2016 venue:
Rio Olympic Park (Barra Zone)
Each competition is based on weight divisions. There are seven for men and six for women.
Men’s events: -60kg, -66kg, -73kg, -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg.
Women’s events: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg, -70kg, +70kg.
The rules are the same as in Olympic Judo, only the two fighters start gripped up.
The men’s contest takes place over a maximum of five minutes, with four minute contests for women. Scores of varying degrees are awarded for throws, holding techniques or submissions with judoka scoring the coveted ippon to end the contest.
However, if neither achieves an ippon during the contest, the player who has accumulated the greatest number of points, achieved through throws and holds such as a yuko and a waza-ari, by the end of the bout is declared the winner. Two waza-ari also make an ippon.
Penalties (or shidos) are also given to the athletes for a range of reasons and can ultimately lead to victory and/or disqualification. Collecting four penalties can award victory to their opponent.
If both judoka are tied on scores or penalties at the end of their contest, it goes to a ‘golden score’, where the first person to score wins with no time limit during ‘golden score’.
Ippon is the biggest score in judo and scoring ippon ends the contest. It is shown on the scoreboard as 100.
Ippon can be scored in one of four ways:
1. Throwing your opponent largely on their back with considerable force and speed.
2. Holding down your opponent with Osaekomi waza (holding techniques), who is unable to escape for 20 seconds.
3. When your opponent submits tapping twice or more with their hand or foot or say maitti (I give up) as a result of osaekomi waza (holding techniques), shime waza (choking or strangling techniques) or kansetsu waza (arm locks).
4. Scoring two waza-ari against your opponent.
Waza-ari is shown on the scoreboard as a score of 10 and can be scored in two ways:
1. Throwing your opponent but lacking one of the three elements for ippon – largely on their back or with force and speed.
2. Holding down your opponent for 15 seconds or more, but less than 20 seconds.
Yuko is shown on the scoreboard as a score of 1 and can be scored in two ways:
1. Throwing your opponent but lacking two of the three elements for ippon – largely on their back or with force and speed.
2. Holding down your opponent for 10 seconds but less than 15 seconds.
Judo at the Paralympic Games is for visually impaired athletes. Each weight category is ‘open’ with players from B1, B2 and B3 classes competing against each other in the same grouping.
B1: This category encompasses no light perception in either eye up to light perception, but there is an inability to recognise shapes at any distance or in any direction.
B2 & B3: Both of these categories involve a low level of usable partial vision, those in the B3 category will be able to see more than those graded as B2.
If an athlete has a red circle on their kit, it indicates that athlete has a B1 level of visual impairment. If an athlete has a yellow circle on their kit, it indicates that athlete is deaf as well as having a visual impairment.