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Judo Australia access prime facilities ahead of Tokyo 2020

23 November 2018

JUDO: Judo Australia signed a Memorandom of Understanding (MoU) with the Saitama Prefecture, the Ina Town and Ageo City governments to use the Saitama region as their team base prior to entering the athlete village at Tokyo 2020.

This means, the Australian Judo Team will be able to access the Tokyo 2020 facilities for training and preparation camps for the 2019 Tokyo World Championships in August and the Osaka Grand Slam event in November.

Judo Australia CEO, Alex Vallentine said of the memorandum,

"This agreement ensures our athletes will have the best preparation opportunities ahead of both the 2019 World Championships and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

"There is already a strong connection between Judo Australia and the Saitama region, and this MoU will further strengthen and build our relationships to best serve our athletes."

Mou Group Shot

Judo Australia Chair, Kate Corkery echoed Vallentine's thoughts,

"The formalising of these significant relationships provides an invaluable opportunity for our Australian athletes to train and prepare in excellent facilities, and with quality opposition in the home of Judo during the lead up to Tokyo 2020. Judo will then return to the home of its first Olympics at the Nippon Budokan venue.

“Judo is a sport grounded in values practiced worldwide. One of the Judo values is friendship. The signing ceremony was a wonderful reminder of the friendship that exists between Australia and Japan often brought to life through the contest and inspiration of sport.

"Judo Australia, both on and off the mat, will continue to value and develop these friendships during the term of this MoU and long after.”

The announcement was well-timed around this year's Osaka Grand Slam event which will take place this weekend, wrapping up the Judo World Tour year.

In other exciting news for Australia's Olympic qualification hopes, the country welcomed one if it's newest Olympic hopefuls to the fold.

Kaihan Takagi

After spending years competing for Japan and boasting the title of All Japan Champion and Asian Champion, Kaihan Takagi has traded allegiances and will compete in his first event for Australia at the Osaka Grand Slam.

The 28-year-old's grandmother is Australian, which makes him eligible to compete for either country.

Takagi defeated judoka U100kg such as former World and Olympic champions Ryunosuke Haga, Luciano Correa, Maxim Rakov, Naidan Tuvshinbayar in the time he competed for Japan and was described by Vallentine as a "real chance," for Australia.

You can follow Australia's performance at the Osaka Grand Slam LIVE HERE

Liana Buratti

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