Indoor Athletics

Everything you need to know about judo

Tokyo judo was a discipline for the first time at the Olympic Games in 1964. This year there will be competitions with mixed teams for the first time.

Judo has its origins in Japan in the late 19th century. In 1964, the martial arts discipline was first introduced at the Olympic Games, but initially only men were allowed to participate. Only in 1992 at the Olympic Games in Barcelona was the women’s competition added.

Judo is considered to be the most widespread martial art and has become the model for other martial arts in Japan and around the world. So it’s not surprising that judo has long been an integral part of the Olympic Games.

Rules in judo

In judo, in English “gentle way”, the athletes try to throw each other or bring them to the ground. The opponent is supposed to be overwhelmed and held on by various grips or to give up. There are 100 techniques, consisting of throwing, ground, falling and striking techniques.

Two athletes compete against each other on a 10 by 10 meter mat (tatami). As soon as one of the two achieves a so-called “ippon”, for example if the opponent is held for 30 seconds with a throw or a grip, he or she wins the fight directly. If the four-minute mark is exceeded in the fight, the person who scored the most points wins.

Men and women compete in seven weight classes. For men, these range from under 60 to over 100 kilograms, for women from under 48 to over 78 kilograms. The exact classification is as follows:


over 100kg heavy weight
up to 100kg light weight
up to 90kg middle weight
up to 81kg medium weight
up to 73kg light weight
up to 66kg half light weight
up to 60kg super light weight


over 78kg heavy weight
up to 78kg light heavy weight
up to 70kg middle weight
up to 63kg medium weight
up to 57kg light weight
up to 52kg half light weight
up to 48kg super light weight

What happened at the Rio 2016 Olympics?

At the Olympic Games in Rio 2016, Japan won three gold medals. France and Russia got two. A total of athletes from 126 countries competed and 26 medals were awarded. Among the winners, the well-known judoka Teddy Riner from France was able to defend his title for the highest weight class. Here are an overview of the 2016 winners:

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