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Para judo

Para judo

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 (judo suit) 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 objective is to throw the opponent to the ground, immobilise them with a pinning hold or force them into submission with a joint lock or choke. There are two types of advantage in modern judo. The first, ippon, is awarded for a throw that places the opponent on their back with strength, speed and control, or submission (by choke or joint lock) or pinning them to the ground for 20 seconds. If a judoka achieves ippon, they immediately win the match. The second advantage is waza-ari, which is awarded either after an impact that misses one of the three criteria for ippon or when an opponent is pinned down for less than 20 seconds (but longer than 10 seconds). Two waza-ari in one match is the equivalent of ippon and means victory for the recipient.  

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.

Further information about classification

Events in 2024

The para judo events will take place between the 5th of September and the 7th of September 2024.

  • -48kg (women’s)
  • -57kg (women’s)
  • -70 kg (women’s)
  • +70 kg (women’s)
  • -60kg (men’s)
  • -73kg (men’s)
  • -90kg (men’s)
  • +90kg (men’s)

Venue in 2024

International federation 

International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) International Judo Federation (IJF)

© Raphael Dias/Getty Images