The Judo Grand Prix tournament with 428 athletes from 69 countries attending got underway in Havana on Thursday.
The president of the International Judo Federation (IJF), Romania’s Marius Vizer, gave a news conference. Vizer arrived in the Cuban capital on Wednesday and this visit marks his third stay on the Caribbean island after he visited in June 2014 to participate in a similar competition and in September 2015 where he evaluated the preparations for the current tournament.
The IJF’s Sports Director, Czech Vladimir Barta, said he was confident that Havana would be a “very good tournament” due to the level of the competitors and the rivalry.
Barta also praised the increased number of athletes and countries compared to the first edition in 2014, when 297 judokas participated from 40 nations.
This event has the largest country representation out of all single sport tournaments to ever have been organized by Cuba, according to local officials.
“We are very focused so that our sport can become one of the main attractions at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,” concluded Vizer.