Nine former international athletes successfully completed their exams to join the IJF refereeing team. It was for the first time that the International Judo Federation opened the opportunity for former athletes to move from national platform directly to international stage. The group spent three days in La Coruna, Spain, prior to the latest edition of the Junior European Cups. All candidates undergo a theory and practical seminar before their exam in Spain, where they were led by IJF Head Refereeing Director, Juan Carlos Barcos and IJF Referee Director, Bernd Achilles. Mr. Achilles expressed his thoughts after the exam:

"The good thing concerning this exam was that I didn’t have to explain the participants what judo is. This allowed me to purely concentrate on the refereeing matters.“

Aljaz Sedej (SLO):

“It was a privilege to be part of this seminar and I was proud that IJF thought of former athletes. In my case, for instance, I didn’t decide to stop competing, I was injured so often that it forced me to stop. I have been searching ways to stay in the judo family since and this was a great opportunity. When I was an athlete, I always dreamed of being in the final of the Olympic Games and I got as far as a bronze medal contest… Maybe it was not meant to be as an athlete and this is my opportunity to make that dream to be the reality as a referee.”



Top row: Ramzidin Sayidov (UZB), Arsen Pschmakov (RUS) Sergej Samoilovich (RUS), Mathieu Bataille (FRA), Maksim Kusnetzov (RUS), Lorenzo Bagnoli (ITA)

Lower row: Fary Seye (SEN), Fernando Romero Ibanez (ECU), Bernd Achilles (IJF), Juan Carlos Barcos (IJF), Omar Simmonds Pena (PAN), Aljaz Sedej (SLO), Giuseppe Maddaloni (ITA)