Rio de Janeiro – Brazil, Aug 23, 2013: Mr. Vizer has transformed the image of judo and the IJF since taking office in 2007 during the last World Championships in Brazil’s second largest city. Through his visionary leadership, the IJF has developed a thriving World Judo Tour, established the sport’s place in the Olympic movement and introduced rule changes to make the sport more appealing to a wider audience. African Judo Union President and Vice President Mr. Lassana Palenfo had the pleasure of officially announcing his re-election. Mr. Vizer said: “I am very emotional because we have worked together for six years with trust, collaboration and respect. I thank all officials, our IJF Executive Committee, the IJF staff, and everyone involved in the judo world. Thank you very much.”
New IJF EC Members
Mr. Arkady Rottenberg, President of St Petersburg Judo Club, who was a childhood friend and training partner of Russian President, Mr. Vladimir Putin, was elected as IJF Development Manager. Mr. Jose Humberto Rodriguez, USA Judo Chief Executive Officer, who was instrumental in USA Judo’s highly-successful Miami Grand Prix and Cadet World Championships this year, became a new IJF Executive Committee member as IJF Development Director. Mr. Hedi Dhouib, who is stepping out of the exectutive board after years of dedication to the development of judo, becomes the IJF Director of International Affairs.
The IJF Abolished Participation Fees
The IJF proposal of abolishing participation fees at all IJF events was supported and that is already in effect. This will enable more countries and more judoka to compete on the World Judo Tour and national federations will be able to develop their athletes, secure sponsorship and attract the next generation of judoka in their respective countries.
Judo Promoted to Group C in the Olympic Classification
The IJF Congress was opened by IJF President Mr. Vizer who welcomed everyone to Rio and wished all the countries a successful Congress and World Championships. Mr. Jean-Luc Rouge, the IJF General Secretary, conducted the Congress and after announcing the schedule for the day he gave the floor to Mr. Vizer for the President’s report.
“A few years ago we started a new project, a new vision, which saw us introduce the world ranking list – a system of professional qualification. This led us to the London 2012 Olympic Games which was very successful with 135 participating countries, judo was the third sport in this area behind only swimming and athletics.
“We saw 23 countries win medals and 20 judoka were flag bearers while 97,897 judo tickets were sold and there was huge interest with the venue full every day. The first Saudi Arabia woman to take part in the Olympic Games was a judoka as Wojdan Shahrkhani represented her country.
“Judo was promoted to Group C in the Olympic Classification thanks to good collaboration, more recognition in Olympic family and ensured a higher amount of Olympic dividends.
“I have the intention to organise a United World Championships every four years. Events would generate revenue for national federations, continental unions and would take place on the years following an Olympic Games before the Olympic qualification period is active.
TV, New Application, Cooperation, Development…
“We also have significant developments in the TV area as we now broadcast in 150 countries in high definition and have multi-year deals in place with interest in the World Judo Tour continuing to increase. Work is continuing on an IJF phone app which will be launched in the near future and will include video demonstrations of techniques, the world ranking list and judo heroes.
“In 2012 the IJF signed agreements with the The International Military Sports Council (CISM) and the The International Police Sports Union (USIP) while working closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Development department and we have a good partnership with the United Nations. The IJF is one of the most active international federations in terms of donations and supporting education and development which is at the heart of our sport. This is in addition to projects such as Judo for Children and Judo for Peace. This year we have donated $2.5 million dollars and we are currently developing several programs throughout the world. This illustrates our ongoing work and commitment to all our member federations.
Focus on Quality
“We will be starting an IJF coaching academy at the end of the year in cooperation with Semmelweiss University in Budapest which will earn certified diplomas as recognised by the European Union. I want to thank you all for achieving together, the third Olympic Classification category and President of SportAccord”, said Mr. Vizer, before adding, “I want to say a special thank you to Patrick Hickey for supporting judo in the Olympic movement. Patrick Hickey (President of the European Olympic Committee and judoka himself) always has the attitude and behaviour of a judoka. All National Olympic presidents and people involved in our sport I want to continue to work with you to improve the quality of judo. We have worked on the quantity and now we will focus on the quality. Thank you all for your support.”
Mr. Vlad Marinescu, IJF TV and Marketing Advisor, said: “There has been an evolution of TV in regards to judo but first I want to discuss our media operations. We have a new PR system to send press releases to moret than 2,800 contacts to keep the media well informed on the latest activity on the World Judo Tour. We have 268,000 fans on Facebook which puts us in the top five international federations on the hugely popular social media platform. We have a detailed television guide and running order for all events until 2016 which shows our professionalism and that judo is in an elite bracket of sports.”
Technical Reports: Sports, Refereeing, Education
Mr. Vladimir Barta, IJF Head Sports Director, said: “For London 2012 we saw the first time a new Olympic qualification system was introduced. Athletes must prove their quality over the two-year period. Cadet and Junior World Championships are now established and are in place to support the development of young judoka. The Olympic qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will start on 30 May 2014 after the World Judo Masters and will finish on 29 May 2016 after the World Judo Masters.”
Mr. Juan Carlos Barcos, IJF Head Refereeing Director, said: “We have trialled new rules since January 2013 as we work to try and improve the quality of judo and maintain the values of our sport. The changes we proposed help to keep the sport pure and make the sport easier to understand for viewers. We believe we are on a good track and have monitored the results of 27 major events. We will now sit down and analyse these findings after the World Championships.”
Mr. Mohamed Meridja, IJF Education and Coaching Director, said: “Over the last two years we have held 26 training courses and 648 coaches have participated. Courses are distributed through continental unions and 28 scholarships were allocated by the Olympic Solidarity. This will support the development of national sport structure and our IJF
Coach Academy. Three levels will be established. Instructor level one, coach level two and pro coach level three. The IJF has benefitted with an important number of scholarships in comparison to other Olympic sports. The renewal of the athlete’s commission will take place during the World Championships. Five athletes will be elected and four are appointed by the IJF. The voting process runs from 26-29 August.”
An Honour for Mr. Patrick Hickey
IOC board member Mr. Patrick Hickey said: “It is a pleasure and an honour to be here in Rio for a weeks activities ahead of the World Championships. I’m pleased to see so many friends in this room. I congratulate IJF President Mr. Marius Vizer on his election as SportAccord President. Mr. Vlad Marinesu has been appointed as SportAccord General Director and he will do a great job. Mr. Vizer has already brought a new attitude and a change of direction to what is a huge organisation.
“Mr. Vizer supported me with the proposal of the European Games as Europe was the only continent without a continental multi-sport competition. As a fellow judoka, I receive a lot of praise regarding the progress of judo and this makes me so proud. People from all disciplines have commented to me and I’m sure this will continue.”
Special Presentations: Four special presentations were made by IJF President Mr. Vizer.
– Mr. Jos Hell, Chairman of Netherlands Judo Bond, received an IJF Gold Medal along with Mr. Hedi Dhouib.
– The Nepal Judo Federation received an IJF Gold Plaque while Ms. Estony Hattingh was presented with an IOC achievement diploma for women in sport.
Mr. Vizer, IJF President, closed the Congress: ” I want to thank you all for your friendship, collaboration and attention and I close the IJF COngress, thank you.” —- IJF