30 March 2024


IBSA Judo Grand Prix Antalya 2024


From Monday, 1 April, over 200 judoka from 42 nations are going to compete at the 2024 IBSA Judo Grand Prix Antalya. Beforehand, the majority is currently undergoing eye classification proceedings to either renew their status or join the world’s premium VI judoka. This is the last of the two qualifying events ahead of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Europe will have a lot to overcome en route to victory, especially, in some case, a rather robust Asian line up.

J1 Women 

In the absence of world and European champion, Nataliya NIKOLAYCHYK (UKR), the -48kg category will be open for the rest of the crowd. With that being sad, a victory from ’23 world bronze medallist, Ferdauza Ulanbekovna UBARIKOVA (KGZ) will promptly overtake Nikolaychyk’s top spot on the IBSA Judo Paralympic list. Home favourite, ’23 world and European silver medallist, Ecem TASIN CAVDAR (TUR) will devour the same offer should she take gold. SHI Yijle (CHN) has landed in Antalya as the current IBSA world and Paralympic rank leader of the -57kg category. Last month in Heidelberg, she suffered a defeat against Uljon AMRIEVA (UZB) during the final, whom, with that win, led herself to a near qualifying position for the 2024 Paralympics. Amrieva is looking to secure her ticket to the French capital this weekend, whilst ’23 European champion, Dondu YESILYURT (TUR) will simply seek to shine on home ground. All top ranked IBSA judoka are on site in the -70kg category with the leader of this group being, Breda SOUZA DE FREITAS (BRA). Hopes for Europe and added local celebration expected to appear with the likes of Nazan AKIN GUNES (TUR) who is currently the world rank leader of the +70kg category.

J1 Men 

Being world and Paralympic rank leader, Kapil PARMAR (IND) is expected to dominate the -60kg category. He had fallen short on a medal in Germany which adds to the reasons to seek for gold in the upcoming days. A winning performance from ’23 world champion, Miguel VIEIRA (POR) will automatically trouble and overtake Parmar’s position on the rankings. When it comes to qualifying for Paris 2024, Florin Alexandru BOLOGA (ROU) has no pressure around, therefore, his attendance in Antalya is mostly for practice purposes. That won’t stop him severely distressing the rest of the -73kg category. With half the elite missing in the -90kg category there is a significant opening for those who are narrowly outside of the Paralympic qualifying positions. This includes, Battugs BATKHUYAG (MGL) for whom being in the final could literal be a Games changer, for example. Quite the opposite in the +90kg category as we expect a full house of the leading squad on the field of play. 

J2 Women 

Double world champion, Akmaral NAUATBEK (KAZ) is way ahead of all on the ranking list yet will join the show in Turkiye to add to her already extraordinary accomplishments in the -48kg category. Meanwhile, for someone like KOKULA (IND) every contest counts as she is currently set on the edge of qualified judoka, claiming the final spot to Paris, for now. Tokyo Paralympic champion, Sevda VALIYEVA (AZE) returned to action this year to storm up the -57kg ranking a bit, if she may. Joining the -70kg is another Paralympic winner, Alana MALDONADO (BRA) but for Europe, all eyes will be on Khanim HUSEYNOVA (AZE) and Ina KALDANI (GEO). Still, a dominating performance will mostly be expected from WANG Yue (CHN) in this category. Brazil is spoiled for choices in the +70kg category as both, ’23 world silver medallist, Rebeca SILVA and Tokyo Paralympic gold medallist, Meg EMMERICH are in qualifying position. Only Silva is attending in Antalya thought, indicating a choice might have been made already. 

J2 Men 

More from Asia as Uzbek duet, Sherzod NAMOZOV and Kemran NURILLAEV are continuing their head-to-head for a spot at the Summer Games, arriving to Turkiye with only 60 points difference. The pressure is high to say the least and whilst they compete against one another in theory, they must also overcome the rest of the -60kg manpower physically. Tokyo 2020 gold medallist, Vugar SHIRINLI (AZE) fancies a last-minute attempt in qualifying for Paris which only adds to the density of this category. More Uzbek jewels are competing in the -73kg category with two Paralympic gold medallists, namely, Uchkun KURANBAEV and Feruz SAYIDOV. The latter is not in qualifying position now, however, as for many others, a winning performance can change the line up instantly. Europe’s medal hopes will lay in the hands of Giorgi KALDANI (GEO) and Osvaldas BAREIKIS (LTU) in the -73kg weight division. Davurkhon KAROMATOV (UZB) won the -90kg category in Heidelberg, setting himself amid qualified judoka right away. To ensure his position, he must continue to gloss for the remaining of the two qualifying events. Due to a deferred eye test in Germany, British Paralympic champion, Christopher SKELLEY was absent from all actions. However, the audience hopes to have him on the tatami competing in Antalya and most likely dominating the +90kg category. 

The draw is scheduled for Sunday, 31 March at 6:30pm (CET) and can be viewed live online via the IBSA Judo’s website. The tournament will run across two days and will be held at the Antalya Sport Hall. Lastly, the President of the Turkish Judo Federation. Mr. Sezer HUYSUZ expressed his warmest wishes to all; 

The IBSA Grand Prix Antalya will be one of the last opportunities for preparations for the next Paralympic Games in Paris 2024. I extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation to IJF President Mr. Marius Vizer and all IBSA directors for their support and confidence in the organisation of this event in Turkiye. I wish all of you, as well as the people of the world, good health, a strong spirit, and all the best to the participants! We would be glad to welcome you all again in Antalya, Turkiye.

Best of luck to all participants!

Author: Szandra Szogedi