Saini loses in 1st Rd of world judo, Sushila has fingers crossed


India’s Jasleen Singh Saini on Monday lost in first round of the men’s 66kg category and crashed out of the World Judo Championships here. He lost to Radu Izvoreanu of Moldova.

On Sunday, India’s top ranked woman judoka Sushila Devi had lost her first-round match of the 48kg category.

Susila, however, could still qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games through the continental quota. She will, however, have to wait until June 28 to know her fate.

Going into the World Championships, Sushila with 989 points was the top ranked Indian while Saini had 920 points approximately. Both Sushila and Saini will be awarded 20 points each for competing in the World Judo Championships.

Since Sushila has better aggregate points, she still has a chance to qualify for the Olympic Games through continental quota place, to be announced by the International Judo Federation on June 28.

Saini managed to hold on Izvoreanu in the stipulated four minutes, but lost in the golden score, applied to break the deadlock. In the golden score rule whoever scores first is declared the winner.

The eight-day tournament is the last Olympic qualification event and offers valuable world ranking points.

More than 600 competitors, including 279 in the women’s category, are competing in the World Championships.

Earlier, in April, a 16-member Indian judo team had to pull out of Asian Oceania Olympic qualifier tournament in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, as two athletes had tested positive for Covid-19 in the pre-event testing.

That dented Indian judokas’ prospect vis-à-vis Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled to begin on July 23.