The final IJF Grand Slam of the season will take place in Osaka ©IJF

Osaka is set to host the final international judo competition on Japanese soil before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, when it welcomes athletes for the last Grand Slam event of the season.

The International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam event is traditionally hosted in Tokyo, but has been relocated to Osaka for 2018 and 2019, as preparations in the Japanese capital focus on the Olympics.

Competition in the port city will serve as another opportunity for athletes to secure key qualification points towards the Olympic Games.

"I want to congratulate and thank the AJJF (All Japan Judo Federation), its President, Mr Yamashita and his team, for the tremendous work that has been done to organise this event, in less than one year prior to the Olympic Games in Tokyo," IJF General Secretary Jean-Luc Rougé said. 

"Because judo is not only about competition, I want also to thank the Kodokan and Mr Haruki Uemura for the continuous support they are offering to develop judo worldwide.

"I want to especially underline the work that we have conducted together to create the new kata for children, that was presented for the first time during the World Championships in August, and that you will see again here in Osaka."

A total of 486 athletes from 87 countries are due to compete for the next three days in Osaka.

Ono Shohei will be among the Japanese world champions competing at the event ©Getty Images
Ono Shohei will be among the Japanese world champions competing at the event ©Getty Images

Hosts Japan have named a strong team for the competition, with world champions Ono Shohei, Maruyama Joshiro, Abe Uta and Sone Akira all expected to compete.

Ono is the reigning Olympic champion and will contest the men's under-73 kilogram event.

World number one Maruyama will look to move closer to securing a maiden Olympic appearance with a strong performance in the men’s under-66kg competition.

The Grand Slam event will begin tomorrow with the women’s 48kg, 52kg and 57kg divisions taking place.

The men's 60kg and 66kg competitions will also be held.