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Not only judoka will have to qualify for the Olympic Games, also referees will qualify. In this stage the Federations were informed by the International Judo Federation on the nominees for the Olympics in Tokyo. In total sixteen referees are nominated and it’s not super hard to know which referees are happy to announce they are officially nominated.

The IJF Referee commission led by Juan Carlos Barcos (ESP) and Jan Snijders (NED) have decided the referees who will be supported by the supervisors during Games time. The supervisors consist of World and Olympic Judo Champions from the past, not necessarily former referees themselves but important influencers and interpreters of the current rules in judo. After the Olympic Games there is a small window where those rules can be adjusted. In the previous Olympic cycle some adjustments were made, but some were corrected after a year of testing at the major events.

Among the referees there are Olympic Games and World Championships medallists and multiple continental judo champions. The average age is 46 years varying from 38-53 years. The nominated referees count five women, four more than in 2016. Four of the sixteen referees have officiated contests at the previous Olympic Games in Rio.

Since the corona crisis 12 referees per event are officiating the contests, while at last year’s Grand Slams more than 30 referees were actively leading judo contests, depending on the number of mats. At the Budokan there are two Olympic mats available for two weight categories per day.

The following referees were nominated for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Lubomir PetrAUS
Mariano Dos SantosBRA
Orlando CruzDOM
Raúl CamachoESP
Veli-Matti KarinkantaFIN
Matthieu BatailleFRA
Jean-Claude DjimbiGAB
Vladimir NutsubidzeGEO
Annamaria FridrichHUN
Roberta ChyurliaITA
Akiko AmanoJPN
Sook-Hee HyunKOR
Everado GarciaMEX
Enkhsetseg TurbatMGL
Evgeny RakhlinRUS
Ramziddin SayidovUZB

The nominated referees have a diversity of nations, continents and gender and are obviously the referees who have proved to be top nudge professionals with the highest rankings in the IJF Referee ranking.

Juan Carlos Barcos, IJF Head Refereeing Director, tells us a little more, “I think we have found the best referees of the moment. For more than two years, we have been working on it and for that we have set up a ranking system, which helped us a lot in our choice.

At the Olympic Games, we need people with experience. Over the past months we have taken a close look at all applicants for a place on the refereeing team. We have paid particular attention to the commitment and involvement, which must be total. We had to keep in mind that only one referee per country was possible.

What we looked at above all was the quality of the work provided. With the members of our committee and the experts who accompany us all year round, we have set up a very high quality list. It is an honest and serious team who has a deep knowledge of the refereeing rules and who will be totally dedicated to the designation of the right winners. Within that we note that the list is balanced, with representation of the highest standards across the continents and genders.”

Also the national Federations of the referees were announced for the forthcoming Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The Paralympics will take place 24 Aug until 5 Sep, the Olympic Games judo tournament will start at 24 July in the Budokan and will be followed by the first edition of the mixed team event.