Sushila Devi Likmabam has officially qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 after the International Judo Federation confirmed her qualification status on Friday. She was awarded one of the continental quotas for the Summer Games next month.
Sushila Devi's Tokyo Olympic berth came close to being confirmed after she lost in the first round of 48 kg at the World Judo Championships in June 2021. Despite losing, her impressive performance put her in seventh spot on the Asian list with 989 points.
The 26-year-old from Manipur confirmed her ticket to the Tokyo Olympics via the continental quota. As per the qualification guidelines, the top two Judokas from each continent outside the top 18 get Olympic Games Quota Rankings. In Judo, the qualification is done according to the ranking, taking into consideration the last two years' performance.
Sushila Devi was a silver-medalist in the women's judo 48 kg category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Sushila Devi is the only Indian judoka to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics
Sushila Devi Likmabam has become the only judoka from India to secure the coveted Olympic berth for Tokyo next month. She will be competing in the Extra lightweight 48 kg category. Only the top 18 athletes in the Olympic Games Quota rankings can earn a direct qualification for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. But, only one judoka per nation is allowed to participate in the quadrennial event in Japan.
26-year-od Sushila Devi is the highest-ranked Asian outside the top 18 athletes in the OGQ rankings. She is ranked 46th with 989 points and therefore securing her Tokyo Olympics berth through continental quota.
Only 10 continental quotas were each awarded to men and women of the Asia continent, out of which two were allotted to the Women's Extra Lightweight 48 kg category. One was grabbed by Sushila Devi. The other would've gone to Jon Su Yun of North Korea, but due to the country's withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics 2020, it will pass on to the next qualified judoka.
Interestingly, Sushila Devi Likmabam is the fifth Indian athlete from Manipur to qualify for the quadrennial extravaganza in Japan. The other four are boxing legend Mary Kom, weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam of the women's hockey team, and men's hockey player Shanglakpam Nilakanta Sharma.