Canberra to host 2016 Oceania Judo Championships

The 2016 Oceania Judo Championships will be held at the AIS Combat Centre in the Australian capital Canberra, it has been announced.

The event, scheduled for April 8 to 10 next year, will see the continent’s top judokas battle it out for medals and will be followed by a week-long training camp from April 11 to 17.

Australia were the dominant nation at this year’s Oceania Judo Championships, winning eight of 10 gold medals available in the junior and cadet competitions on the opening day at the Arena de Paita in Nouméa, New Caledonia.

The Australian seniors then took centre stage on the second day, claiming a total of 10 golds, before judokas from the home country recorded a haul of eight titles in the senior’s event.

The announcement as Canberra as the host nation of next year’s Oceania Championships comes after the International Judo Federation (IJF) Judo Educational Tour passed through four countries, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, last month.

During the Tour, the IJF and Oceania Judo Union (OJU) held productive discussions on how to take the sport on the continent forward.

OJU President Lennie Nitt admitted there are parts of the region will still need to develop judo and it is hoped events like the Oceania Judo Championships will help aid that process.

"In Oceania we have three types of countries: Australia and New Zealand which are quite developed in terms of judo, the French territories, which receive the support of France, one of the leading countries in the world, and the rest of the Oceanian nations, which are all the islands and where judo still needs to be developed,” he said.

The next major event on the Oceania judo calendar is the 2015 Oceania Judo Open, due to be held at the WIN Stadium in Wollongong, Australia, from November 14 to 15.

Judo's popularity is growing in the region but Oceania has never hosted the IJF World Championships.

Oceania countries have also struggled to establish themselves at Olympic level, with Australia the only nation to have managed a podium finish.

Theodore Boronovskis  won a bronze medal in the open class at Tokyo 1964, the Games where judo made its Olympic debut, and Maria Pekli earned a bronze medal in the under 57 kilogram class at Sydney 2000.