Rajitha Nuwarapaksha Sets New Record for Sri Lankan Judo

Rajitha Nuwarapaksha 1

In a groundbreaking achievement for Sri Lankan judo, Rajitha Nuwarapaksha, currently based in Italy, has secured the 128th spot in the world rankings, marking the highest accomplishment by any Sri Lankan judo player. This remarkable feat unfolded at the Judo Grand Slam Tokyo 2023, a prestigious event that took place in Tokyo from December 1 to 5.

Beginning the tournament with a world ranking of 211, Rajitha faced a formidable opponent, Nurbek Murtozoev from Uzbekistan, who held the 52nd spot globally. The match was intense, lasting over three minutes, but Rajitha emerged victorious, earning a significant number of points for his first-round win.

Advancing to the second round, Rajitha encountered a tough adversary from Ukraine, ranked 26th in the world. Despite a spirited bout that lasted nearly three minutes, Rajitha was defeated. Securing a win would have set him up against the world’s number one player, with the chance to compete for a medal.

Competing in the 81kg weight class, Rajitha was one of 49 participants in that category. Leading up to the tournament, he held the 211th position in the world judo rankings. The event saw the participation of 506 athletes from 84 countries around the world.

Six months ago, Rajitha earned 84 points at the Austrian Grand Prix during the first round, propelling him to the 211th spot in the world rankings. Notably, before that competition, he was positioned at 496th in the global rankings.

Looking forward, Rajitha is gearing up for two more world championship competitions scheduled for early next year: the Portugal Grand Slam and Paris Grand Prix. His goal is to secure an Olympic spot by achieving a world ranking below 75, qualifying for the Paris Summer Olympics in 2024. Rajitha’s journey continues as he strives for further success on the international judo stage

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