Although judo is an ancient martial art, it was first introduced to the Paralympic Games in 1988 for men and in 2004 for women. Judo is open only to athletes with visual impairments. The athletes are divided only by weight categories, as they are in able-bodied judo, but they compete on a special mat – called a “tatami” – that has different textures to show the competition areas.
Paralympic judoka – “judo fighters” – compete under the same rules as Olympic athletes with one exception: opponents must always have a loose grip on one another. If that grip is broken, the match stops and athletes return to the center of the mat to re-grip.
Matches last five minutes, with points scored through attack and counterattack moves: throws, arm locks, chocks. Scoring an “ippon’” – a move that renders the opponent immobile – is similar to a knockout punch in boxing: it automatically results in a win. If no ippon is scored, the athlete with the most points at the end of the match wins.
Pushes, pulls and throws, traction and holds, balance and movement – judo is a sport of strength, strategy, and mental focus.
• China won the most gold medals in the 2008 Paralympic Games. Team USA’s Greg Dewall won a bronze that year in the Men’s +100 kg competition.
• At the 2011 Parapan American Games, America’s Myles Porter beat the reigning Paralympic champion in his class, Brazil’s Antonio da Silva.
Paralympics 2012 Competition: Aug. 30 – Sept. 1
Judo is open only to athletes with visual impairments. Athletes are divided only by weight categories, as they are in able-bodied judo, but the mat has different textures to show the competition areas.Back To Sports