ABU DHABI // Poor attendances at the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi could jeopardise the capital's chances of winning the right to stage top International Judo Federation (IJF) tournaments in the future.
"In Abu Dhabi, the organisation has been very good, the facilities are excellent, but the attendance has been really poor," Marius Vizer, the IJF president, said.
Abu Dhabi has a four-year agreement to stage one of the five IJF grand prix events from 2009 to 2012, and an extension would mean the capital would be hosts for another four years from 2013.
"As a young federation, the UAE has done well to win the rights to host one of the GPs on a four-year deal, but we will have to address some hard issues like the poor attendance when we discuss a new agreement for the next four years," Vizer said.
"This event has a television viewing in over 100 countries and as such it puts Abu Dhabi in the spotlight as an international sporting venue.
"Besides, judo is an excellent sport that develops many different skills such as discipline, self confidence, fitness and flexibility."
The grand prix was a qualification event for the 2012 London Olympics.
"It is a fantastic sporting event to be staged in any country with the world's best judokas in action," Vizer said.
"This is a sport with potential of an Olympic medal for the UAE and as such I would like to see more of the country's youth at this event.
"The irony is that they are not here and that's very disappointing."
The IJF calendar consists of five GPs, four grand slams, a Master's and a World Championship.
The UAE were hosting the third GP of the year with the next two to be held in Amsterdam and Qingdao, in China.