Paris Grand Slam 2019, France - PREVIEW

Paris transforms into the theatre of judo

The IJF World Judo Tour has settled in France this week for the Paris Grand Slam, one of the most lauded events on the international calendar, as the AccorHotels Arena will be transformed into a theatre of judo on Saturday and Sunday.

Following a highly-regarded season opener in Israel at the Tel Aviv Grand Prix, the attention now falls on Paris and its two-day supershow which will see Olympic and world champions in action while hundreds of hopefuls will look to make a name for themselves on one of the highest stages in the sport when judo is at the centre of the sporting landscape in France this weekend.

The Paris Grand Slam is the hottest ticket in town with an expectant French crowd counting on glory from their star-laden team including triple world champion Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA) who will be in -63kg action on Saturday.

Fans will travel from all over the world to attend the revered competition with plenty to cheer for as 97 countries will take part in France as 573 judoka battle it out with the aim of winning one of the 14 gold medals at stake at the first major of the season. The total number of competitors is the second highest figure in the history of the tournament with 584 judoka setting the record in 2012.

Mr. Naser AL-TAMIMI, IJF General Treasurer, made the opening address at the draw which took place on Friday afternoon at the AccorHotels Arena.

"Good afternoon everyone, dear Jean-Luc and his team, for all the judo friends, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to thank the French Judo Federation for the Grand Slam and the high prestige it has in the IJF World Judo Tour. I’d like to thank the IJF team for collaborating with French Judo. The competition is two days, five mats and it’s a challenge but everyone is ready to do a good job. I wish all the teams and all the judoka good luck. I hope we see beautiful judo and I wish you all a pleasant time."

Mr. Jean-Luc ROUGÉ, French Judo Federation President and IJF General Secretary, spoke on behalf of the organising committee.

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome in Paris, it’s a great pleasure to welcome you all. All representatives and countries, we welcome you to France. This is the 45th edition of Paris tournament and in 2024 will be 50th edition. On the occasion of this Grand Slam, we also celebrate the 160th anniversary of the relationship between France and Japan and we will have a exhibition in the venue. Judo is key to the relationship between France and Japan and you will see that this weekend. I wish you all the best for the tournament."

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE DRAW

25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only