IJF delegation to visit the Fight for Peace

Rio de Janeiro – Brazil, Sept 4, 2013: The visit, which followed a highly-successful 2013 World Championships where the eyes of the sporting world where on judo’s marquee event ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, was part of the IJF’s ongoing educational and development activities where the values of judo are used to create better societies and initiate educational opportunities.


The first contact between the IJF and Fight for Peace was in April at the IOC World Conference on Sport for All in Lima, Peru when Larisa Kiss, Director of the IJF Presidential Office, met Gabriela Pinheiro, Fight for Peace Manager at their Rio de Janeiro headquarters. Since then the visit to the three-storey building with boxing, martial arts and educational facilities has been meticulously planned with the shantytown neighborhood having three major drug factions which are set to be eliminated in six months’ time when the community is pacified.

Marius Vizer, IJF President, was joined by Larisa Kiss, Director of the IJF Presidential Office, Juan Carlos Barcos, IJF Head Refereeing Director, Mr. Frederic Barthelemy, IJF Judo for Peace Commission member and Mr. Moshe Ponte, President of Israel Judo Federation, who saw Yarden Gerbi win his country’s first World Championship gold medal on Thursday. The IJF Media Team were also in attendance to cover the visit.

The delegation started the visit by watching a judo session with 100 children which was led by sensei Ubirapua Reynaldo who started judo in the city in 1968.

“It’s great to see the IJF visiting us here because it shows the children that judo is more than just a class, judo is more than a sport, it is a way of life,” said the 2nd Dan.

“We took some of children to the World Championships at the Maracaranzinho and they loved the experience. It’s important for them to be able to see such events to inspire them and see that by taking part in judo you are fighting in a positive way. Now they all want to be world champions.

“I’m so happy with what I do, I am so glad to teach judo to these children and make it my life. Judo started here at the academy two and a half years ago and they’ve made very good progress to the point where we have 100 children taking part in the sport here. As a coach, the two most important factors for me are respect and security. The children have to show two respect at all times and have to be in a safe and secure environment.

“The children begin to see that with their respect and regular practice they are improving their lives and this way they try to be a better person every day.”

After judo demonstration, Vizer presented copies of the IJF’s London 2012 Olympic Games Commemorative book and countless Green Hill judogi to the enthusiastic children whose infectious smiles were as heart-warming as they were sincere.

The visit moved on to one of the classrooms where Fight for Peace founder and ex-boxer Luke Dowdney, an English researcher, discussed the project’s latest activities.


“We host community events in the favela, we take the tatami to the street and stage demonstrations and competitions,” he said. “One girl saw a boxing event in the community and ended up on an educational course here while some children start through relatives who are members of the academy.

“Children join because they see young people changing. After a community event the queue is out the door with young people looking to join. Our members are the real heroes of the community and to show this we about to launch an advertising campaign with 20 posters to go up in the favela.

“We have 50 international communities and plan on taking that number to 140 over the next two years.”

Marius Vizer said: “Thank you all for this experience and the visit to your community. I hope to see some you in future World Championships. Judo is a way of life and has values which will remain with you for life. The IJF will support you with equipment and financial aid.”

Juan Carlos Barcos said: “I’ve seen a lot of projects but nowhere quite like this. This academy shows that judo is more than a sport, judo is a way of life. I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen and the great work taking place here.”

Moshe Ponte said: “Good judoka often come from these type of areas, they have spirit and energy. This is a very nice academy and if I was a coach I would want to coach here. I see a lot of happy children who are full of hope and that means everything.”

For more information on Fight for Peace visit www.fightforpeace.net/

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