|The 2016 Points System|
|The 2017 Points System|
The IJF World Ranking is a point system that is used to determine the seeding of top athletes in major competitions and ultimately on whether they qualify for the Olympic Games.
Various competitions contribute to the rankings. These include the IJF World Tour events (Grand Prix, Grand Slams and Grand Masters) and Continental events (Opens and Championships).
Some major changes have been made to the points associated with the various competitions with the Continental Opens becoming less important relative to the IJF World Tour events. Where the points for most of the IJF Tour events were doubled (or more than doubled, in some cases), the points for the Continental Opens were stagnant at 100 points.
The Continental Championships did see their points increase from 400 to 700 but it should be noted that the Grand Prix points increased from 300 to 700. So that means today, the Grand Prix events offer as many points as the Continental Championships. Whether this should be the case is certainly debatable.
This downgrading of Continental events has raised some eyebrows among judo observers. “It’s worth noting how winning a single match at the upcoming 2017 Budapest World Championships will gain you 200 points, which is double the number of points you’d get for winning a Continental Open,” says Hans van Essen of JudoInside.com.
The World Masters, an invitation-only event for top-ranking athletes, saw the biggest boost of all, going from 700 points to a whopping 1800 points. Simply participating in it earns athletes 200 points, which again is more than they would get for winning a Continental Open.
Whether this situation is right or not, one thing is clear: Coaches and federations are now likely to favor IJF World Tour events over Continental events because they are simply worth more in terms of ranking points.
“My personal tip to federations is to send players to the Zagreb Grand Prix which is held right after the World Championships as many top athletes will take a small break after competing in the World’s,” says van Essen. “It’s a good opportunity to pick up valuable ranking points with few top competitors taking part.”