IJF Media Team / IJF
The junior categories men U55kg and women U44kg will be cancelled in all events. All technical directors and coaches were officially informed about the new measure. A very drastic rule for all athletes in these categories.
“Cancellation of the categories of -55kg and -44kg for the Juniors in all competitions.”
For all young athletes such as first year Juniors or last year Cadets, these categories are perfect divisions to adjust to a higher level in the future in perhaps their second year. The gap of 4-5kg is quite a leap at that age as physical condition is what they lack in those early years.
The measures seems to be taken to prevent youngsters to drop weight for too long to stay in their category but this is applicable for each category. Young talents such as Lois Petit (BEL), Erza Muminoviq (KOS) or the World medallists Chihiro Todokoro (JPN), Oumaima Bedioui (TUN), Amanda Arraes (BRA) and Lois Petit will eventually step over to U48kg anyway. However the timing is hard as for instance World Champion Todokoro is just 18, same for Brazilian Araes. Although they are super talents, there are enough neo juniors who will find it hard to make weight to fight in a higher category and create the same physical conditions.
The same counts for the young men who won medals at the last Junior World Championships in Nassau such as World Champion Rovshan Aliyev and Balabay Aghayev (both AZE), Hayate Handa (JPN) and Imam Ibragimov (RUS). Especially countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Japan have a wealthy choice of developing talented light weights.
The Junior World Tour starts in St. Petersburg at 16 February which is usually a very strong tournament with where in 2018 and 2017 Azeri won this category U55kg and mainly Eastern European countries dominate the category. Same for the female equivalent at U44kg.
It’s not a reason that there are not enough participants as in the heavyweight categories. Last year in Nassau at the Junior World Championships U55kg had 26 participants, less than in 2014 with 37 athletes. Abu Dhabi 2015 had 35, Zagreb in 2017 had 32 athletes. Last year Lignano also had over 32 athletes.
The women U44kg had 16 athletes at the World Junior Championships in Nassau but has always been between 16 and 23, comparable to the womens +78kg division.
A measure prepared over a longer term is acceptable, but all of a sudden now athletes will miss the physics to play a part in U60 or U48. This well undermine the chance to an optimal road for talents to reach the senior category U60kg. It will definitely cause damage in their experience having told this decision this week while St. Petersburg is in less than three weeks time. Losing weight is applicable in each category, not only to the lightest category where indeed younger athletes take part. However the short term of decision making is shocking for many promising talents in this stage of their careers where they likely chosen for judo instead of another career.
The World Championships will be held in Marrakech in Morocco from 16-19 October. Continental Championships usually one month before.
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