It was a disappointing day for Indian judo as Likmabam Shushila Devi, Vijay Kumar Yadav and Jasleen Singh Saini were eliminated in the first round at the Grand Slam Hungary in Budapest on Friday.
It could be a blow for the judokas aiming to make their first Olympics in Tokyo next year as the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Tour Event offered ranking points which would count towards Olympic qualification.
The 25-year-old Shushila Devi, world No. 41 in the 48kg category, fell to local hope Eva Csernoviczki. Devi was penalised with the Hansokumake, the highest penalty in a judo bout, which handed an Ippon (a win by opponent’s disqualification) to Csernoviczki, giving the Hungarian a victory.
In the men’s 60 kg category, Vijay Kumar Yadav lost to Azerbaijan’s Davud Mammadsoy after a long bout that could have gone either way.
Both judokas were penalised two Shidos each, the lowest form of penalty for minor infringements and a third for either would have resulted in a Hansokumake, giving the other victory.
As it turned out, it was Vijay Yadav who earned the third Shido for avoiding Mammadsoy’s grip.
Expectations were high from highly-rated 22-year-old Jasleen Singh Saini, who is the best-ranked Indian judoka (No. 56) but he could not deliver. Saini lost to Russia’s Abdula Abdulzhalilov in the men’s 66kg category.
Similar to Vijay Yadav’s bout on the day, Saini was penalised with three Shidos to his opponent’s one, which made for an easy victory for Abdulzhalilov.
Other Indians in action
The Judo Budapest Grand Slam is the first event since the COVID-19 pandemic halted the calendar in March and it will involve more than 500 judokas from 75 countries competing in a bio-bubble. Among them will be two more Indians with a chance of progress.
Rio 2016 Olympian Avtar Singh will be up against Israeli Peter Paltchik in the men’s 100kg and Tulika Maan is scheduled to face Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Kalanina in the women’s 78kg. Both will be up on Sunday.
Where to watch Grand Slam Hungary judo live in India
Fans can also catch the Grand Slam Hungary judo event on Eurosport and Eurosport HD TV channels in India. Daily coverage begins at 8.30 PM Indian Standard Time (IST).