IJF Youth Olympics Training Camp

Fiesch, Switzerland, July 28th, 2014: Youth Olympics, The finest young judoka in the world are primed for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in August after completing a week long IJF Training Camp in Fiesch, Switzerland.

More than 350 athletes and coaches from 70 nations participated in the second edition of the IJF Youth Training Camp which was held from July 20-26.

The adventure of the camp started last year with the first edition which gathered together 30 nations. Already a success, this first camp was surpassed in numbers and quality in 2014. Organised by the IJF together with with Sergei Judo Camp association, which is led by the Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, Sergei Aschwanden (SUI), the camp was supported this year by the Olympic Solidarity, as this summer the objective was special: to prepare the athletes who will, in a few weeks from now, participate in the Youth Olympic Games, Nanjing 2014.

The organizing committee, the official and the champions during the ‘Official’ Day

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On July 24th, 2014, the camp opened its doors to a delegations of officials and media. Francis Favrod, President of the Sergei Judo Camp Association, said: “The adventure started more than 30 years ago. We used to organise a summer training camp here in the beautiful city of Fiesch. Some years ago, Sergei Aschwanden came up with the idea of proposing something bigger. The SJC association was born. Without the support of all our sponsors and partners we wouldn’t have been able to welcome so many athletes and coaches. We wanted this camp to become a constructive platform for the future generations of champions. Without the incredible dialogue between the IJF, its President, Mr. Marius Vizer, and our association, with the help of our technical director, Sergei Aschwanden, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to offer seven days of powerful training to all the young athletes.”

Accompanying the athletes were 70 coaches who had the possibility to exchange ideas and experiences all week long. The organisers prepared a special lounge for the coaches, where every evening they could spend time together to talk about their respective training experience. Sergei Aschwanden said: “This is a fantastic place to be for the coaches. Seeing them in the evening having good time, laughing and sharing their experience is incredible. They will meet again next to the competition tatami. They are already friends now and it will help the development of judo.”

Haiti was among the 70 delegations invited to take part in the camp

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This year, the camp was a real preparation for the Youth Olympic Games, which will be held in China, this summer. It was therefore the perfect place to be for the athletes to learn each from each other, to create strong links between all of them and as most of the observers and invited guests said: “Even if in August they will compete together, they will be opponents on the tatami, but good friends in life.”

To help the athletes were the 70 coaches and among them were several world and Olympic medallists and champions led by Sergei Aschwanden who added: “Last year we had 30 nations, this time we have 70. I am dreaming to welcome here 100 countries. This year we focused on the preparation of the Youth Olympic Games. For the next edition we need to find new challenges. In collaboration with the IJF and the Olympic Movement, we really want to make this event sustainable. Having here, during several days, the best coaches and champions, who transfer their knowledge to the the future generations of champions is a great chance. I really want to thank all our experts.”

Sergei Ashwanden, Olympic bronze medallist during one of the judo sessions
Larisa Kiss, Director of the IJF Presidential Office, who represented the IJF President, Marius Vizer, declared: “It is a great honour and pleasure to deliver Mr. Vizer’s message. Thank you to all of you for your support. Judo is one of the most, if not the most educational sport within the Olympic Movement. Our goal is to educate the youth and to create the conditions for a better society. A special thank you to Sergei Aschwanden and Francis Favrod and their team. It is fantastic to see how a former athlete and champion like Sergei invests his time and energy to develop judo at the highest level as well as at the grassroots level with the Judo for Children activities that they also organize throughout the year. Here in Fiesch we are really combining the Olympic values and the judo moral code to promote the Youth Olympic Games.”

350 participants were present in Fiesch, Switzerland during the whole week

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Pierre Fratter-Bardy, IOC Sports Department, who was representing the International Olympic Committee said: “I want, in the name of the IOC, to congratulate you for this outstanding organisation and project. The key values of the YOG are to compete, to learn and to share. The IJF goes far beyond and has been developing a strategy over the whole cycle. The richness of the YOG is to promote the exchange and the learning between the young athletes and we help them to find a good balance in their daily life. In the IOC sports department we are taking care of the organisation of the sporting events, that’s why it is really interesting to come here to see and discover the preparation of the athletes. It is a privilege and we are happy to see what Sergei was able to build. In the name of the IOC, I want to address my warmest thank you to the whole judo family.”

A good opportunity to meet the IJF representatives and the IOC officials for all the delegations

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Jacqueline de Quattro, Head of the Department ‘Territoire et de l’Environnement’ of the Canton de Vaud and judo black belt said: “This camp is a beautiful story which started with ‘Once upon a time, great champions and good friends decided to dedicate their life to the youth’. Several years ago, Sergei and Francis came to me and told me that they had a great idea. Fiesch had already a long history of judo. When the IJF doors opened, the dream came true. It is not possible to become a champion if you are not good and professional. That’s what our champions are. In judo we don’t have enemies, we have opponents on the tatami and friends in life. I wish the best of luck to all the participants in Nanjing.”

Alina Dumitru (ROU), Beijing 2008 Olympic Champion and IJF Athletes Commission member, who was present in Fiesch explained: “It’s a new experience for me. It is totally different from what I did for more than 18 years. I used to be taught, and today I needed to transmit and transfer my knowledge. For me it was important to see how the other coaches are working. I can really plan the future now. This training camp is a fantastic initiative. The preparation of the YOG really started here.”

The group visited the Aletsch Glacier

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Seeing the young athletes working hard and enjoying themselves, having fun being together on the tatami or during the visit of the magnificent Aletsch Glacier, is a perfect proof of the power of such a judo camp. After two successful editions, the IJF and the Sergei Judo Camp Association are already working together to plan next year’s camp, which will be once again held in Fiesch. After one week in Switzerland, all delegations left with their mind and body full of experience and new knowledge. Focussing on the sports dimension as well as on the judo moral code and on the Olympic values, the training camp led by great champions and coaches will continue to grow and develop in the upcoming years. But before that, all athletes will meet again in Nanjing, China, for the second edition of the Youth Olympic Games, which will feature an individual competition and a mixed team event. With no doubt, the spirit of the IJF Youth Training Camp will fly over the Nanjing Judo Venue from August 17th to 21st, 2014.

List of the officials present on July 24th
Larisa Kiss Director Of the IJF Presidential Office
Nicolas Messner IJF Media and Judo for Peace Director
Pierre Fratter-Bardy IOC Sports Department
Patrice Cholley IOC – Head of Youth Strategy Coordination IOC
Philippe Furrer IOC – Head of YOG Culture & Education
Liubov Matrosova IOC, Olympic Solidarity
Edward Kensington IOC, Olympic Solidarity, Senior Project Manager
Eric Hänni Switzerland Judo Federation representative, Olympic Medallist and Judo 9th dan
Monika Kurath BASPO – Head of Youth and Sports
Grégoire Jirillo Head of the Sports Department – VS

Jacqueline De Quattro Head of ‘Territoire et de l’Environnement’ – Canton de Vaud
Oskar Freysinger Head of the ‘Formation et de la Sécurité’ Department – Canton du Valais
Bernhard Schwestermann President of the city of Fiesch
Herbert Volken Former Grand Conseil President
Carlo Kuonen Head of the Canton Police
Claudio Rossetti Director of the Sport & Ferien Resort – Fiesch

Kurt Gerber Budosport AG
Nadine Blaser Vale SA
Jean-Laurent Bourquin Advisport
Nicolet Blaise AFOREM
André Etter Romand Coordinator
Beat Wüthrich Police Academy Savatan

Main judo coaches
Sergei ASCHWANDEN, Suisse: Olympic Bronze Medallist
Alina DIMITRU, Roumanie: Olympic Champion
Yvonne BÖNISCH, Allemagne: Olympic Champion
Elisabeth WILLEBOORDSE, Pays-Bas: Olympic Bronze Medallist
Daniela KRUKOWER, Argentine: World Champion
Eric HÄNNI, Suisse: Olympic Silver Medallist
Sergio DOMENECH, Espagne, Paris Tournament Gold Medallist
Tasuya DEGUCHI, Japon, Paris Tournament Gold Medallist
Dmitri BUDOLIN, Estonie, European Bronze Medallist. —- Photos © IJF Media Team – Nicolas Messner

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