Indian judokas hope to boost Tokyo chances at Tel Aviv Grand Slam

Tall task for five-member team but Indians say they are in top form. Watch the Tel Aviv Grand Slam judo event live.

By Rahul Venkat

Five Indian judokas, including Rio 2016 Olympian Avtar Singh, will travel to Israel to take part in the Tel Aviv Grand Slam which begins on February 18.

The Tel Aviv Grand Slam, hosted by the International Judo Federation (IJF), is part of the World Tour and will offer ranking points for the Tokyo Olympics.

Likmabam Shushila Devi (48kg) and Tulika Mann (78kg) will be the two women aiming to earn enough points to make their Olympic debuts while Vijay Yadav (60kg) and Jasleen Singh Saini (66kg) will be among the men hoping to do the same.

The five-member contingent will be accompanied by chief national coach Jiwan Sharma.

The Indian judokas were last seen in action at the Budapest Grand Slam in Hungary last year. Shushila Devi, Jasleen Singh Saini, and Vijay Yadav were eliminated in the first round while Avtar Singh and Tulika Mann exited in the second round.

“All of us have medal expectations from this tournament. We are at our peak now,” said Jasleen Singh Saini.

Saini, currently ranked world No. 57 in the Tokyo Olympics rankings, is the best-placed Indian judoka to earn a spot at the Games through the continental quota.

The others have a tall task ahead of them. The qualification rules state that the top 18 in the world across weight categories, as of June 28, 2021, will earn a direct spot in the Olympics.

Apart from the top 18, a continental ranking list will be prepared and the highest-ranked players on the list will be allowed an Olympics spot, subject to one player from each country in each weight category.

As many as 512 competitors from 73 countries will be competing at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam.

Indian judokas draw at Tel Aviv Grand Slam

Men 60kg: Vijay Yadav vs Adam Jazan (Israel)

Men 66kg: Jasleen Singh Saini vs Daniel Perez Roman (Spain) - second round

Men -100kg: Avtar Singh vs Mikita Sviryd (Belarus) - second round

Women 48kg: Shushila Devi vs Maria Siderot (Portugal)

Women 78kg: Tulika Mann vs Ivana Maranic (Croatia)

Where to watch Tel Aviv Grand Slam judo live in India?

The Tel Aviv Grand Slam judo event will be streamed live on the IJF’s YouTube channel. There will no telecast of on any TV channel in India.