Since the Olympic Games none of the Japanese athletes are ranked world number one, which is remarkable as Japan has nine Olympic Championships in nine of the 14 weight categories. At 1 August five Japanese led the IJF World Ranking. Despite their Olympic titles their ranking points they are not anymore on the number one position, reports Judo Inside.
The World Ranking is a qualification ranking and the more you participate, the more points you get. The Japanese simply don’t participate a lot in the IJF World Tour where others gained valuable points at the Grand Slams of Paris, Baku and Abu Dhabi.
Starting the season in 2022, the Japanese sent 7 male athletes to Portugal for the Grand Prix but a strong delegation is expected in Paris. After Paris the World Ranking may look different again.
Uta Abe and Chizuru Arai are ranked second at the IJF World Ranking, but Arai retired, while Uta Abe will not participate in Paris. In fact none of the Olympic Champions will be present in Paris, but still a good field is expected. World Champions Kokoro Kageura, Natsumi Tsunoda and Ai Shishime are registered for the Grand Slam where the home crowd will fill the tribunes again to cheer for the top athletes and of course the French. Right now the Portuguese are preparing for the first Grand Prix ever in Portugal.
An Baul of Korea is the only World ranking leader fighting in Portugal. Although also World number two Matthias Casse and Rafael Silva will be Portugal. Casse will skip the Grand Slam in Paris. Home favourite Jorge Fonseca is the highest Portuguese in the ranking at U100kg in Portugal.