Just under 500 judoka are set to take part in the World Junior Judo Championships in Olbia ©IJF

Just under 500 of the best young judokas from around the world have travelled to Olbia in Italy for the World Junior Judo Championships, which are scheduled to begin tomorrow.

Judokas from 75 countries are set to compete at the Geopalace, for the titles of junior world champion.

A prize fund of $100,000 (£73,400/€86,250) is on offer across five days of competition, which begins tomorrow with preliminary action across three tatamis.

Following four days of individual competition, a mixed team event featuring the world’s top 15 nations is set to take place on the final day.

In a welcome letter sent to all delegations, International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer said: "Our junior judoka have suffered a great deal through the last year and a half, navigating a pandemic and doing all they can to continue preparing for a full life and career in judo.

"We are proud of all they have achieved and look forward to seeing them give of their very best in Sardinia.

"With just three years until Paris we expect that many of our elite juniors will be aiming, longer term, at using their experience in Olbia as a springboard into the senior ranks and many are likely to appear in Paris in 2024."

Judokas from 75 countries are set to compete for a $100,000 prize fund at the World Junior Judo Championships ©IJF
Judokas from 75 countries are set to compete for a $100,000 prize fund at the World Junior Judo Championships ©IJF

Welcoming competitors and delegations President of the Italian Judo Federation Domenico Falcone said: "On behalf of the Italian Judo Federation, I would like to welcome each of you to the 2021 World Judo Championships for juniors, taking place in the well-known city of Olbia, that has already successfully hosted the 2016 Veteran European Championships and the 2017 Kata and Veteran World Championships.

"It is an honour for my federation to organise this event, despite the difficult moments caused by the world pandemic.

"It’s such an important event, that will represent the first challenging step for the athletes who will be involved on the route to Paris 2024.

"I wish all the participants an excellent experience, a lot of luck to achieve their goals and the possibility to enjoy these days near the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean Sea.

"Finally, I would like to thank the International Judo Federation for the confidence shown with the assignment of the event and the local authorities for the support provided to the organisers."

An Opening Ceremony is scheduled to take place tomorrow, but during today’s draw ceremony the International Judo Federation’s head refereeing director highlighted how the world’s best referees had been appointed to officiate at the event, to ensure fairness throughout.