The IJF World Judo Tour 2016 came to a memorable conclusion at TOKYO
Date : Tuesday, December 6, 2016
The IJF World Judo Tour 2016 came to a memorable conclusion on Sunday as Rio 2016 medallists and a new generation of Japanese and international judoka came to the fore with the ambition of competing here in Japan’s capital city at the 2020 Olympic Games.
On the occasion of the last day of the Tokyo Grand Slam, Mr. YAMASHITA Yasuhiro, IJF Development Director and Vice President of the All Japan Judo Federation said: “I am very happy to see what judo has become. In Rio, we had very dynamic judo and many ippons. This is the fruit of the IJF efforts and investment. We are in a good direction. In Rio I was particularly impressed by Rafaela SILVA of Brazil. She was born in a favela and became an Olympic champion. This is what sport is all about. Majlinda KELMENDO for Kosovo was also amazing. Those two champions are the symbol of the success of judo at the last Olympic Games.
“As a Japanese leader I was very proud of the results of our national team. Coming back home with 12 medals and the seven men on the podium was a real achievement. All athletes and coaches did a great job and our federation also did great to reach that level. After London 2012, many people were worried about Japanese judo, but now they are not worried anymore and I am happy about it.
“Many observers were also worried about the Rio Games before it started but thanks to the involvement of everyone, the Games and especially judo was a fantastic success. In four years, the Olympic family will meet here in Japan. I can assure you that the whole Japanese judo family will make everything possible to satisfy all judoka and judo lovers around the world. I am counting on the International Judo Federation and their guidance to have the best Games ever for our sport in Tokyo.
“As you know, in 2020, judo will be back in Japan and the tournament will be held in the Nippon Budokan, where the judo Olympic adventure started in 1964. Today, I remember Anton GEESINK (NED), who defeated KAMINAGA Akio (JPN). It was difficult for us, Japanese people, but Geesink’s victory opened the door to judo to the international scene. From that day on, judo really became a worldwide activity. When you see that in Rio we had more than 130 participating countries and 26 nations represented on the podium, we can say that judo has become universal. In 2020, we want to demonstrate how judo, which was born here in Japan, has become such a worldwide activity. It’s not only about winning and losing, but it’s about the values and the respect. We are ready to take more comments from outside of Japan, to make it even stronger.“
Being asked if he still goes regularly on the tatami, Mr. YAMASHITA said: “I often say to people that today’s judogi for me is mainly a suit and a tie. But Jigoro Kano was focussing on human education. Through judo you can develop your physical and mental capacities in order to ultimately contribute to the society. This is judo, so although I’m not wearing a judogi that often, throughout my life I remain a judoka and I want to be a judoka.“
Before the start of the final block, Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, presented the International Judo Federation Expert diploma to Mr. MURAKAMI Kiyoshi. Mr. MURAKAMI said: “I am a judoka. I have worked during twenty years in France, before coming back to Japan. Now, I am working with the Italian Judo Federation and I hope they are happy with my work. I have been involved in judo for more than forty years, so receiving a diploma from the hands of the President of the IJF himself means a lot to me. It is a great honour. I am 66 years old but for me age doesn’t count. What counts is the number of mistakes you make or don’t make. I want zero mistakes. I have a contract with Italy until 2020 and I know that I don’t want to stop working for judo and for the benefit of the sport.“
Then Mr. Jean-Luc ROUGE, General Secretary of the International Judo Federation presented the International Judo Federation Expert diploma to IJF Hall of Famer Mr. Neil ADAMS, who declared: “I am honoured. It is nice when what you are doing is recognised. What Mr. VIZER has been doing for many years for the development of judo is fantastic. We are here to promote our beloved sport and it is amazing to be part of the process.“
Mr. Marius VIZER said: “Judo is a family, which so many members and all of them are doing a fantastic job to promote and develop our sport. Mr. MURAKAMI and Mr. ADAMS have achieved a lot either by being great champions or great coaches. They are still very involved. It is important for us to award personalities like those two experts and to reward all the efforts they make and the commitment they have. Without them and the work of everyone judo would not be where it is now.“
Mr. Juan Carlos Barcos and Mr. Jan Snijders, both IJF Head Refereeing Directors, presented diplomas to seven International Judo Federation referees who are retiring from their activity: Ms. Cathy Mouette (FRA), Mr. Vladimir Vostrikov (RUS), Mr. Josep Manuel Cortes (ESP), Mr. Andreas Hempel (GER), Mr. Vladimir Hnidka (CZE), Mr. Nuno Carvalho (POR), Mr. Akinobu Osaka (JPN).