We are all watching more sport this summer, which includes matches, races and tournaments we don’t usually see on TV.

With lots of British hopefuls going for gold in the Olympic judo tournament, it might be useful to get our heads around the scoring system so we know exactly what’s going on.

Judo was founded in Japan in 1882, so this year’s Olympics will see the sport return to its roots.

As the athletes prepare to go for gold, here’s everything you need to know about the judo scoring system…

How are the scores awarded in a judo match?

There are three different points you can be awarded during a judo match.

An ippon is a full point, and a waza-ari is the smallest point.

The goal of the match is to achieve an ippon, and when this happens, the match ends.

How can you win an ippon?

An ippon can be achieved through various methods:

  • A throw which results in one of the competitors being thrown and landing fully on their back with considerable force - this is nicknamed the "perfect throw" in judo
  • Holding your opponent down for 20 seconds
  • If an opponent gives up or is disqualified: for example, if one competitor receives 3 shidos (penalties), their opponent will win 
  • Holding your opponent in a stranglehold - this is otherwise known as choking your opponent until they tap to give up or pass out
  • Applying an armlock to an opponent until they either give up or become too injured to continue
  • Winning two waza-aris

How can you win a waza-ari?

Waza-aris can be awarded through:

  • A throw which results in your opponent being thrown but only landing partly on their back rather than fully, or a throw which has less force than required for an ippon
  • Holding your opponent for 10 seconds

Are matches time constrained?

Yes, matches can only last up to four minutes for both men and women.

If time is up and neither opponent has scored an ippon, the referee awards the win to the person in the lead. 

For example, if by the time the match was over one person had scored a waza-ari, they would be victorious.

If the scores are exactly equal by the time the match is over, or neither opponent has scored a point, then it goes to sudden death overtime, otherwise known as "golden score".

In such instances, the first person to score a point is victorious. 

What is the referee’s role in judo?

The referee ensures the match takes place safely and fairly, as well as awarding scores and penalties.

There are also judges who oversee the referee, ensure their decisions are correct and assist them where necessary.

How many weight categories are there in Olympic judo?

There are currently 7 weight categories in Olympic judo.

For men, these are:

  • Heavyweight (100kg+)
  • Half heavyweight (90-100kg)
  • Middleweight (81-90kg)
  • Half middleweight (73-81kg)
  • Lightweight (66-73kg)
  • Half lightweight (60-66kg)
  • Extra lightweight (-60kg)

For women, these are: 

  • Heavyweight (+78kg)
  • Half heavyweight (70-78kg)
  • Middleweight (63-70kg)
  • Half middleweight (57-63kg)
  • Lightweight (52-57kg)
  • Half lightweight (48-52kg)
  • Extra lightweight (-48kg)

What dates is the Olympic judo taking place? 

The judo competitions will take place between July 24-31.