A cloud of uncertainty looms over the participation of the Indian judo contingent for the upcoming Commonwealth Judo Championship that is slated to be held in Walsall, the UK from September 25 to 29.
The apprehensions over non-participation of the Indian judo contingent came to the fore as funds crunch has hit the Indian judo contingent.
A key platform for future course
The 2019 Commonwealth Judo Championship event assumes significance given the fact that it is a core sport at the 2022 Commonwealth Games that will also be held in England. The Commonwealth Judo Championship is recognised by the Commonwealth Games Federation and is organised by the Commonwealth Judo Association.
And owing to the big-ticket event in 2022, the organisers of the Commonwealth Judo Championship are offering six berths to the host country from each category and four berths from each category from the guest countries.
The 2019 Commonwealth Judo Championship will be held in six categories – pre-cadet, cadet, junior, senior, veteran and visually-impaired judokas and is expected to attract around 1,000 judokas. The organisers will hold competitions in a total of 67 weight categories – 19 weight categories in pre-cadet, 16 weight categories in cadet, 16 weight categories in junior and 16 weight categories in senior.
The Judo Federation of India (JFI) has intimated that India would feature in four categories – pre-cadet, cadet, junior and senior and is focussed on fielding as many as 134 judokas across four weight categories. More importantly, the Judo Federation of India (JF) is keen to send two teams to the 2019 Commonwealth Judo Championship, but is struggling to arrange funds for its big-sized contingent.
“With the 2022 Commonwealth Games not far away, the Judo Federation of India wants to send two teams to the 2019 Commonwealth Judo Championship as we want to maximise our medal chances as well as provide adequate exposure to our judokas. Since JFI wants to send a big contingent for this event, we have requesting the government of India to sponsor both our teams as the federation does not have the wherewithal to send our contingent on our own cost,” said Judo Federation of India general secretary Man Mohan Jaiswal.
Going without financial support
It is important to understand that the host country of the Commonwealth Judo Championship does not arrange for food and lodging of participating countries. The JFI secretary said in case the funding support does not come through, then the players would have to manage on their own. “Many players have come forward to us saying that they would like to participate and are trying to arrange things through help of state associations, government departments as well as seek sponsors. But finding a helping hand for the entire judo contingent will not be easy, and that is why we have approached the government,” Jaiswal pointed out.
The Judo Federation of India secretary general said discussions with the government are going on in the right direction. “The JFI has requested the government to offer their helping hand, and we were told to focus on preparing for the 2019 Commonwealth Judo Championship. So we have reasons to be optimistic.”
It may be worth recalling that the India had hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Judo Championship at Jaipur that featured 14 countries. India fielded two teams at the 2018 Commonwealth Judo Championship and completely dominated the event, winning 98 medals. The inaugural Commonwealth Judo Championship was held in 1986 at Edinburg, Scotland.