Montreal, February 4, 2019 – Canada will be hosting the 2020 IBSA Judo Pan-American Championships at the Pierre-Charbonneau Centre, in Montreal, on January 11, 2020. It won’t be the first time the event is hosted by Canada, as it was held in Calgary during the Canadian Open Championships in May 2018.
In 2020, the event will be paired with the National Elite Championships. Priscilla Gagné, gold medallist of the 2018 edition, couldn’t be happier with the decision: “I am so thankful for my coach Andrzej Sadej and Judo Canada for taking the initiative to amalgamate visually impaired judo with able-bodied judo. I believe that hosting this competition right here in Montreal, where we live and train, will be great exposure for other visually impaired athletes and potential recruits. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the able-bodied athletes we train with to see us compete. It’s also a great opportunity for the visually impaired to support able-bodied as they compete, allowing for a better unity and team spirit.
In addition to Canadian Paralympic stars Priscilla Gagné and Justin Karn (also a gold medalist in 2018), the 2018 edition gathered 52 athletes from 7 countries. The 2020 edition is expected to attract more athletes, as the sport is gaining popularity each year amongst visually-impaired athletes. On top of being a major event, the Pan-American Championships will also be part of the Paralympic selection process. Athletes will be able to earn precious points for a chance to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
“I am very proud that Canada is leading the way in demonstrating of what it means to offer a fully inclusive environment to athletes of different abilities. Having the visually impaired athletes competing for the 2020 Paralympic Selection side by side with sighted judoka is inspiring and truly shows the value-driven sport in action. We are confident that hosting this event in Montreal, the hub of Canadian judo, will increase the awareness of judo among the visually impaired population of this region of Canada,” said Andrzej Sadej, Judo Canada’s Sport Director and 2016 Paralympic coach.
More information on schedule and tickets sales will be available before the event. All judo lovers are invited to come and cheer for the Paralympic hopefuls giving their everything on the mat to get a little closer to a spot on the team during the event.
Written by Sarah Mailhot for Judo Canada