After all the highs at the Commonwealth Games 2022, the Indian judo team failed to impress at the Asian Judo Championships, which were held from 4th - 6th August in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan.
At the just concluded Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Sushila Devi won silver in the women’s 48kg and Tulika Maan claimed silver in the plus 78kg. Vijay Kumar Yadav won bronze in the men’s 60kg.
However, both Tulika Maan and Vijay Kumar Yadav suffered defeats in the first round of their respective weight groups in Nur Sultan. Of the 14-member Indian team, the majority of them faced the exit door in the first round itself at the Asian Judo Championships.
Sunibala Devi (63kg) and Indubala Devi (78kg) were the only two athletes to win the first round and they finished 7th overall in their respective weight groups in Kazakhstan.
Sushila pulled out of the Asian Judo Championships due to a recurrence of a big toe injury she suffered a week before going to the Commonwealth Games.
“My big toe is swollen and has been advised by a doctor to take a break from competition,” Shushila told Sportskeeda in an exclusive chat.
According to Shushila, she was injured a week before going to Birmingham during a practice session in New Delhi.
“I had stiches in the big toe. I did manage to play safe in the quarterfinals and semi-final bouts, but got hurt in the gold medal match in Birmingham. Will take a break from practice for a fortnight. Hopefully, the injury will heal," she added.
Indian judo players need to compete in more tournaments - national Judo coach
A senior national judo coach said the continental championships are highly competitive.
"Winning medals at the Asian Judo Championships is a challenging task as the competition is very tough,” the coach added.
The 2022 season assumes significance as the 2024 Paris Olympic Games qualification started in July. The top 18 in each of the weight categories at the end of the qualification system will earn automatic qualification for the next Olympic Games.
“Each competition has different ranking points and the more competition Indian judo players compete the better,” Jiwan Sharma, the national judo coach, said.
The continental quota system is allotted to the highest individual ranked in men and women’s group to compete at the Olympic Games. In 2021, Shushila was the highest-ranked Indian player and was allotted a continental quota for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.