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This year’s only team judo competition will take place at the European Games. What are the athletes competing for?

On Saturday in the Krynica Arena the best judokas in Europe will compete in a team competition. It is the European championships at the same time, and the points won there may bring them closer to the Olympic qualification. This is the only team judo competition this year.

We are taking this event very seriously. A few stars will be missing, but all the national teams are fielding the best – explained Arleta Podolak, who took part in the Rio Olympics.

Organisationally, both events were at a similar level. The difference is that in Brazil we were accommodated in the Olympic village and passed other athletes – she added.

Judo players delighted with Krynica

Despite the fact that the authorities of the world judo federation had doubts and wanted the tournament to be held in Krakow, the organisers rose to the challenge. Three mats were prepared in the Krynica Arena, on which the duels will take place.

We were sceptical about the location, but we are here and delegates from 22 countries are with us. Our athletes are delighted. We are grateful to be in Krynica and to be able to fight here. This is a really special place. I want to thank every country that is competing with us, as well as the Polish federation and the organisers. The Polish government and the Olympic committee have hosted us wonderfully. We got all the best from you,” said Laszlo Toth, president of the EJU.

You can read more about the team judo rules here. France, Israel, Germany and the Netherlands were given a free draw. They will start their struggles in the second round.

The pairs were drawn. The teams of Germany, France, Israel and the Netherlands received free tickets. Poland, Georgia, Greece and Slovenia will also not compete in the first round. In the quarter-finals, the Poles will face the winner of the Ukraine-Hungary pairing. The competition will begin on Saturday, 1 July at 10am.