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Para judo

Un judokat avec un kimono bleu empoigne un judoka en kimono blanc

Para judo is one of two martial arts disciplines at the Paralympic Games, the other being taekwondo. It is practised exclusively by athletes with vision impairments and follows the same rules as its Olympic equivalent. Unable to see their adversary approaching or attacking, judokas must use their sense of touch to ‘feel’ what their rival is about to do. Breathing, movementsand grip of the judogi (judo uniforms) – they must pay attention to every tiny detail.  

Judo became an official sport for men at the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul, with the women’s competition added at Athens 2004. 

Brief overview of the rules 

Competing judokas must hold on to each other’s judogi during the entire bout. If they lose their grip, the referee stops the match. That’s why, even before the match starts, judokas must grip their opponent’s judogi.  

The aim is to score the most points through successive attacks, or achieving an ippon. Lower scores are obtained by techniques that do not merit ippon.  

Matches last four minutes, breaks excluded. If neither judoka achieves an ippon before the end of the match, the one with the highest score wins. 

Although judokas are classified into categories according to the level of their vision impairment, all three sight classes compete together and are divided according to their weight. Male weight divisions range from 60kg to over 100kg, while female weight divisions range from 48kg to over 70kg. 

Eligible impairments 

Vision impairment.

International federation 

International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA): www.ibsasport.org 

International Judo Federation (IJF): www.ijf.org/

© Raphael Dias/Getty Images