Thursday 30 August – Saturday 1 September 2012
Number of competitors
132: 84 men and 48 women
Each country is limited to a total of six men and five women, apart from Great Britain as the host nation, which is allowed seven men and six women. No nation may have more than one athlete in each event.
Three classes of athletes compete in Judo: B1, B2 and B3. B1 athletes are classed as blind, while B2 and B3 have different degrees of visual impairment. All athletes compete together.
B1 athletes have a red circle sewn on to the sleeves of their judogi (judo suits). This is in order for the officials to apply the rules according to their special circumstances. Similarly, when an athlete is also deaf as well as visually impaired, a small blue circle will be attached on the back of the judogi.
Read more about Paralympic Judo classification
Number of medal events
13: seven weight categories for men and six for women
Field of play
Judo contests are fought on a mat, or tatami. The contest area is 10m x 10m, with a safety area of at least 3m all the way around.
History of Judo at the Paralympics
Judo first featured on the Paralympic programme at Seoul 1988, with women’s events introduced 16 years later in Athens.
There is very little variation between Paralympic Judo and its Olympic counterpart. The main difference is that in order to orientate themselves, players must have physical contact with their opponent before each contest begins.
Reflecting its origins, all of the terminology of Judo is Japanese.
Two athletes (judokas) gain points for throws, holds, armlocks and strangles in a bid to beat their opponent. A contest lasts for five minutes, with the athlete who has the highest score at the end of the contest the winner. The contest will stop immediately if one judoka achieves ippon – the maximum score, two waza-ari (a lower score), or if the opponent either submits or is disqualified.
The scores of waza-ari and yuko depend on how the opponent lands upon being thrown, and how long a judoka can immobilise their opponent on their back. (Note that the koka score has been dropped from Judo scoring since the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.)
The referee gets the contest underway by shouting ‘Hajime!'.
In the event of a tie on points after five minutes, the contest enters a golden score period, when the first score wins. If neither scores during the period, a panel of two judges and referee decides the winner.
For a complete set of rules, please refer to the website of the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), governing body for the sport.
Athletes compete in weight categories.
The competition is run in an elimination format with double repechage. Athletes are divided into two tables (A and B), then further subdivided into groups (A1, A2, B1 and B2). An elimination system determines the winners of tables A and B, who compete in the gold medal contest.
Athletes who are defeated by one of the four eventual group winners during the initial stages enter the repechage of their respective groups. The repechage winner of A1 fights the repechage winner of A2, and the repechage winner of group B1 fights the repechage winner of B2.
The winners of the repechage table finals go on to fight the semi-final losers from the opposite tables for the two bronze medals.
A referee stays in the combat area, while two line judges sit just outside it to rule on holds and confirm refereeing decisions. Decisions are communicated to the athletes by touch as well, if necessary.
Keys to success
Judo is all about strength, speed and control. Scoring ippon wins the match. This can be done by: throwing an opponent on to his/her back; applying an armlock or strangle, forcing an opponent to submit; or immobilising an opponent pinned to the floor on their back for 25 seconds.
Breaking the rules
Getting a warning from the referee gives valuable points to the opponent. This could be, amongst other things, voluntarily leaving the tatami, excessive defence and failing to attempt attacks (known as Passivity). Warnings range from shido through to hansokumake, which results in instant disqualification.
Hajime: The referee's command to start a contest.
Judogi: A judo uniform.
Judoka: A competitor.
Tatami: The mat.
If you want to find out about Judo in your country, including clubs, facilities and coaching schemes, check the website of your National Governing Body for Judo. To find out how you can get involved in Judo in the UK, go to thegamesandbeyond.com
For more information on the Judo competition at London 2012 and the rules of the sport, go to the website of the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), governing body for the sport.