Junior World Championships – Karibu for Judo in South Africa

IJF News, November 2, 2011: “Karibu, welcome, bienvenue …” were the first words of the President of Judo South Africa, Hlasho Temba, to the attention of the 65 heads of delegations present in the amphitheater of the CTICC (Cape Town International Convention Center), on the occasion of the World Junior Judo Championship to be held from November 3 to 6, in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa. “Cape Town has a strong cultural and touristic heritage (Junior World Championships Karibu).

It has the entire infrastructure to host major international events. It was the perfect place to host what is today the largest Judo event ever held in our country, “stressed the President of Judo South Africa. But what will remain, without any doubt, in the organizers’ minds, will be the legacy offered to generations of judoka who have a strong passion for our sport.

Thus, after the world championship, the President of Judo South Africa expects a tripling of the number of  members in some clubs in the region.

It must be said that if the history of judo in the country is already several decades old, the opening to the world of Judo South Africa only occurred after the fall of the apartheid regime, experienced by the country after 1994 and when Nelson Mandela was elected the new South Africa President.

Pannas Vosloo, Sports Director of Judo South Africa, underlines: “on the sport aspect, this event will be complicated for our judokas. We are still ‘babies’ in the world of judo. Our athletes are here to learn and many of them to find out what the competition at a very high level means. But for us and for our development it is crucial.

76 Volunteers and Hard Work:

The modesty of the federation leaders should not hide the passion that the organization of such an event causes within the local judo lovers. For example, 76 volunteers, members of Judo South Africa, are directly involved in managing the event and for more than a year, the organizing committee has been working very hard to welcoming all the countries in Cape Town, and to leaving them a lasting memory of their visit to South Africa.

“After the Football World Cup which stopped by in Cape Town in 2010, having a Junior Judo World Championship in our region is amazing”, added Pannas Vosloo, before concluding that “the objective of Judo South Africa is to develop practice in all the population segments, while having a world championship reinforces the desire of our members to develop judo in the country.”

Jean-Luc Rougé, the IJF General Secretary, excusing the absence of Marius L. Vizer, the IJF President, who will join South Africa tomorrow, especially thanked Judo South Africa for the outstanding work that has been provided to offer the appropriate infrastructure for such an event. Mr. Rougé did also recall that, for the second consecutive year, the Juniors were coming on the African soil to compete for the World Junior title. African Judo has a great development potential that can be enhanced by a coordinated growth strategy.

527 Athletes from 65 Countries:

For four days, 527 juniors (314 boys, 213 girls) from 65 countries will meet on the tatami of the CTICC, some categories counting more than 50 fighters (52 athletes under men’s 66kg), which promises spectacular matches throughout the competition.

In the career of a young judoka, to get a medal in the World Juniors is an important step. Many athletes are already present in the senior World Judo Tour, as the young Clarisse Agbegnenou (FRA), winner of the Judo Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi 2011, in October, which will attempt to win in Cape Town the world title in the -63kg category.

The competition of the two young Americans, Kathleen Bouyssou and Maximillian Schneider, who last year won the title at the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, will also be observed. At the time, they were cadets. All they have to do now, is to go through the juniors to reach to senior top elite.

And let’s not forget that a few years ago, an unconventional champion, the French, Teddy Riner, was revealed on the international scene by winning the junior world title in the men’s heavyweight. All hopes are permitted for the 527 competitors. Not everyone will be world champion, but all will live an amazing experience.

New Regulation for the Coaches:

During the traditional draw meeting, at the beginning of the afternoon, the IJF leaders have also introduced a new regulation to be applied to the coaches for the very first time in this championship. For the moment, it will only be a test, designed to regulate the relations between coach and athlete during matches. Thus, it will be only permitted to provide valuable technical and tactical advices during the stop phases (between matte and hajime).

“All the Olympic sports have to make daily efforts to preserve the ethics of our disciplines; judo aims to be exemplary” explained Jean-Luc Rougé together with Vladimir Barta and Juan Carlos Barcos, respectively, General Secretary, Sports Director and Refereeing Director of the IJF. “Many changes have been made in recent years to ensure friendly competition and to give a greater understanding to judo. We are all partners: athletes, referees, managers and coaches and all together we can promote the ethics of our sport. “

In line with the promotion of ethics and respect in judo, Mr. Rougé also thanked all the present countries for their implication in organizing the first World Judo Day, held on October 28, the birthday of the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano. So far, more than 50 projects on the theme of respect, on the five continents, have been reported to the IFJ and can be found on the website of the event: http://www.worldjudoday.com

Tomorrow at 10:00 am, the first matches of the Judo World Junior Championship, Cape Town 2011, will begin, the final block starting at 4:00 pm sharp. The first day of competition will be devoted to lightweight (men -55kg, -60kg and women -44kg, -48kg).

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