15 Nov 2013

Sport: Revamped Judo Open begins in Samoa alongside Masters Initiative

12:01 pm on 15 November 2013

About 100 athletes from 15 countries will compete for world ranking and Olympic qualification points in the revamped Oceania Judo Open in Apia over the next two days.

A strong Commonwealth contingent is in attendance as athletes attempt to secure their place at next year's Glasgow Games.

And it's not just the young ones who're in the spotlight.

This years marks the introduction of the Grand Masters division, with competitors ranging in age from 30 to 65.

The competition director Francois Martel says they want to keep judo alive with former competitors.

"Oceania has never really organised itself for veterans. This is the first step and we've just nominated a veterans commissioner whose role will be to actually develop the veterans sports because it's a sport we can do all the way up to 85 years old and we can still compete and do Kata demonstrations. Now that that there is a possibility for the older ones like me - I'm nearly reaching 60 but still with a black belt and still doing judo - to be able to compete for your country in these events means that we may still have a chance to win medals for the Islands."

The competition concludes with finals and medal presentations on Saturday.