The International Judo Federation (IJF) has awarded an extra $50,000 to the 14 athletes who ended 2016 as world number ones.
Seven male and seven female judokas have received the cash windfall following an announcement from IJF President Marius Vizer.
One of those to benefit is Kosovo’s Rio 2016 champion Majlinda Kelmendi, her country’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist after the nation debuted at the Games in the Brazilian city.
She tops the world rankings in the women’s under-52 kilograms division.
“This is a great moment for all high level athletes including myself,” said Kelmendi, the 2013 and 2014 world champion.
“The IJF President, Mr Vizer, is thinking a lot for athletes.
“I feel great looking back on my 2016.
“Winning the Olympic title was the greatest achievement of my life.”
Azerbaijan’s Rustam Orujov is the men’s under-73kg ranking leader after winning Rio 2016 silver.
“I am very happy that in 2016 I was the first in the world ranking,” he said.
“I won gold at the European Championships and silver at the Olympic Games.
“I want to thank the President of the International Judo Federation for this gift.”
Other male winners of the prize money are Azerbaijan’s Orkhan Safarov at under-60kg, An Baul of South Korea at under-66kg, Takanori Nagase of Japan at under-81kg, Mashu Baker of Japan at under-90kg, Elmar Gasimov of Azerbaijan at under-100kg and France’s Teddy Riner at over-100kg.
The female winners are Urantsetseg Munkhbat of Mongolia at under-48kg, Sumiya Dorsuren of Mongolia at under-57kg, Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia at under-63kg, Kim Polling of The Netherlands at under-70kg, Kayla Harrison of the United States at under-78kg and Idalys Ortiz of Cuba at over-78kg.
By Dan Palmer
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.