Montreal, Canada, July 4, 2019: Today, 4 July, after the draw of the Judo Grand Prix in Montréal, five-time Olympic champion and legendary gymnast Nadia Comaneci received a diploma to commemorate her appointment as IJF Ambassador by IJF President Marius Vizer
Afterwards, IJF Media had a chat with the acclaimed athlete. “It is a great honor to be nominated IJF Ambassador,” says Nadia Comaneci.“There are a few of us. I like everything that happens within the sport, the atmosphere. Everything Marius Vizer does for the athletes. Even though I didn’t practice judo it’s good to have around other athletes supporting the judokas.”
The legendary gymnast sees plenty of similarities in judo and gymnastics. “It’s hard work. It takes time and patience, perseverance but also you have to love what you are doing. You don’t have to be born in a particular place to be the best. It needs hard work, but if it’s in your heart and you like the challenges it will work.”
Nadia Comaneci holds the city of Montréal dearly in her heart. “I excelled here, and I lived here. It’s a part of my life. I can’t talk about my life without talking about Montréal.
I returned a couple of times for the World Championships and to see myself in the lobby on posters from the 1976 Olympics and the Park they named after me brings back many emotions. It’s nice to have the time to enjoy it, to be here and also to celebrate history for judo with this inaugural Grand Prix.
Hopefully my history here in Montréal will motivate other athletes to be the best they can be.”
Draw Inaugural Montréal Judo Grand Prix at Iconic Landmark
The draw for the Montréal Grand Prix took place at the Auditorium of the Olympic Park Tower.
A historical setting for this first ever major judo event in Canada as the iconic Tower is a legacy of the 1976 Summer Olympic Games that were hosted in the city.
The event was presided by Marius Vizer, IJF President while Vladimir Barta, IJF Head Sport Director conducted the technical aspects of the draw and Lisa Allan gave all the necessary information to all the delegations.
The host city was represented by Michael Tamura, President Judo Canada, Daniel De Angelis, General Secretary Judo Canada; Nicolas Gill, CEO Judo Canada and Luc Denis, Sports Director of the City of Montréal.
“It’s a great pleasure for us to attend for the first time a Grand Prix in Canada”, said IJF President Marius Vizer welcoming the coaches at the draw.
“I congratulate Michael Tamura and Nicolas Gill from Judo Canada for the work done. It’s also a great pleasure for us to have Nadia Comaneci and Teddy Riner present here at this draw.”
“I thank the IJF and Judo Canada. For us athletes these are important times. It’s a well-placed tournament that will help prepare for the 2020 Olympics”, said Teddy Riner.
“Judo Canada is grateful to President Vizer and the judo family for this opportunity to host the first ever Montréal Grand Prix,” Michael Tamura said.
“I’m very excited to have people from all over the world here in the city.
“Thank you for all the confidence in Montréal as host city of this Grand Prix on the World Judo Tour,” Luc Denis commented.
“We are very happy to host the event here in our city. I’m confident it will be an exciting tournament. Enjoy our city.”
After the words of welcome, Vladimir Barta proceeded to the draw of the Montréal Grand Prix. 250 (136 male & 114 female) athletes from 50 countries will be battling on the tatami for the shiniest medal.
The biggest categories for men is the -81kg weight category with 27 participants and the -63kg weight category for women representing the highest number of athletes, i.e. 21 judokas.
With only three Grand Prix events left on de World Judo Tour prior to the IJF Worlds in Tokyo at the end of August, this event will be exciting to watch.
So, watch all the thrilling judo action of the Montréal Grand Prix from 5 to 7 July live and free on the IJF website and follus on social media #JudoMontreal #judo —- IJF