IJF Medical Commission head Dr Antonio Castro has praised judo's response to the COVID-19 pandemic ©Getty Images

Head of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Medical Commission Dr Antonio Castro has said the IJF "did the right thing" in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rabat Grand Prix, due to take place on March 6 2020, was the first judo competition cancelled in an attempt to curb rising COVID-19 cases.

Several competitions quickly followed, including Olympic qualification after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were delayed until 2021.

In October 2020, the World Judo Tour returned in Budapest, before it was cancelled in November 2020 until the end of the season.

Castro says the Medical Commission and the IJF made the correct decisions throughout.

"We did the right thing," Castro said. 

"First we analysed the situation, the pros and cons and we began to draw up plans with different degrees of risk and severity, depending on each situation and taking into account contingencies.

Judo recorded zero positive coronavirus cases at the Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Judo recorded zero positive coronavirus cases at the Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

"In October 2020 we started with Grand Slam Hungary and we registered less than 20 positives. 

"We reacted quickly and well, isolating the contaminated and protecting the rest.

"From January to March, we reduced the figures because we strengthened all the processes."

The World Championships in Budapest, held six weeks before the Olympics, recorded just one positive COVID case.

Judo also recorded no positive cases at Tokyo 2020, but Castro says the IJF cannot be complacent.

Castro concluded: "We have to go further and we are working on that. 

"There are many who think that this is over, that we have defeated the Covid, but they are very wrong. 

"We cannot lower our guard and we will not."