JUDO HALL OF FAME

On Saturday in Astana, Kazakhstan, host city for the 2015 World Championships, the judo family celebrated the careers of some of the sport's most famous names, on the occasion of the second IJF Hall of Fame. Following the first and successful induction in Rio 2013 - nine judo personalities were inducted into the Hall of Fame - including three Europeans. The Europeans were:

Shota CHOCHISHVILI fought for the former Soviet Union and at the age of 22 was crowned Olympic champion at the in 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Chochishvili was an unknown when he entered his first Games, lacking experience of top level competition and the high-profile stage, but 1972 changed everything as he unceremoniously eliminated the top names in the category one-by-one until he surpassed David Starbrook (GBR) in the final. Chochishvili followed up by winning three consecutive European Championships silver medals and one world bronze medal before returning to the Olympic stage in 1976. After returning to the Olympic podium with a bronze medal and a European bronze a year later, Chochishvili, whose image was proudly on show at the 2015 Tbilisi Grand Prix, announced his retirement. Ramaz Chochishvili continued the legacy of his father as he won three European bronze medals as a member of the Georgian team.

Shota Chochishvili passed away at the age of 59 on August 27, 2009 from leukemia.

It was his son Ramaz Chochishvili, who collected the award on his father’s behalf and said: “I am so happy to accept this award, I would like to give a special thank you to the IJF President Mr. Vizer. This is the greatest achievement for Georgian judo.“

Karen BRIGGS was dubbed a ‘pocket-sized fighting machine’ in the British media, Hull-born Karen Briggs was equally adept on her feet and on the ground with a leading lightweight judoka in close proximity. Briggs, who won four World Championships in the 1980s, was crowned world champion for the first time in 1982 at the age of 18. The all-action fighter moulded herself into an all-time great as she successfully defended her world title in 1984, 1986 and 1989.

The British battler, who was a treasured talent destined for the greatest stage, was granted that opportunity when women’s judo was accepted onto the Olympic programme in 1992. Briggs retired after a fifth-place finish in Barcelona and now runs her own judo club in England and leads an active network of judo schools. Briggs was promoted to 8th Dan in June by the European Judo Union.

Briggs said: “I feel very privileged and honoured. I am very saddened that my coach Roy Inman is not here, he was our rock on the British women’s team in the 80s. I thank the IJF, it is great to be here, thank you all.”

Seven-time European champion Gella VANDECAVEYES won honours at every level during a decade as one of the sport’s most prolific performers. The revered Belgian won her first world title in 1993 and between then and her next world crown in 2001, Vandecaveyes dominated her continent as the accolades accumulated including the 1999 European Judoka of the Year Award.

The Olympic Games was also blessed with the talents of Vandecaveyes as she captured silver in 1996 and four years later won bronze to seal her legacy and place among the upper echelons of her country’s finest Olympians.

Vandecaveyes said: “Good evening, hello everyone, I would like to thank the IJF for this award, for this support and inspiration, to my federation and coaches for having belief in me. I want to thank you all.


The other new members of the Hall of Fame are:

  • Uemura Haruki (JAP)
  • Yamashita Yasuhiro (JAP)
  • Jeon Ki-Young (KOR)
  • Driulis Gonzales (CUB)
  • Soraya Haddad (ALG)
  • Maria Pekli (AUS)

IJF President Mr. VIZER, said: "The evening we could feel that the atmosphere was full of emotion. It is really crucial to celebrate our judo legends. Without them, judo wouldn’t be where it is today.

Special thanks to Mark Pickering, IJF Media Manager.


International Judo Federation Hall of Fame

  • Anton Geesink
  • Jigoro Kano
  • Charles Palmer
  • George Kerr
  • Franco Capelletti
  • Peter Seisenbacher
  • Kosei Inoue
  • David Douillet
  • Ezio Gamba
  • Jean-Luc Rouge
  • Thierry Rey
  • Patrick Hickey
  • Robert Van De Walle
  • Mohamed Ali Rashwan
  • Ryoko Tani
  • Ingrid Berghmans
  • Vladimir Nevzerov
  • Willem Ruska
  • Aurelio Fernandez Miguel
  • Hector Rodriguez
  • Neil Adams

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