7 June 2024


European Judo Championships Veterans 2024


The second day of the European Judo Championships Sarajevo 2024 provided a significant element in the history of judo. The first ever Ne-waza European Championships took place and it was the M1 – M3 categories who were able to contribute to the debut. We had the pleasure of speaking with Mr Envic Galea, General Treasurer of the European Judo Union, who was instrumental in the creation of this new episode. 

Mr Envic Galea, General Treasurer of the European Judo Union. © Dino Secic

What are your first impressions? 

It is very interesting. It was a long journey to arrive to this event. We had a lot of experiments to see how to maintain elements of judo inside. We did not want to copy anybody but we knew that a lot of our members would like not to be thrown around, especially in the veteran sections. So we came out with an extension of the sport organisation rules trying to keep as much as possible to the rules according to the IJF rules. In fact, the referees had no problem to adapt to what they already know because it was pure Ne-waza. 

For this time, we had to make a rule that they can only compete in one event meaning you either compete in Ne-waza or Tachi-waza. Due to the unknown there was a lower number of participation but I am sure it will become very popular. It will also give an opportunity to improve that part of judo which is Ne-waza, which is beautiful. I would like to see the -48kg from Japan of example showing us their magic as it is always fascinating to see how they move around. 

You have mentioned Japan, does that mean we are planning to explore this project world wide? 

Well, you know, it is not up to us. We make the product and the selling depends on who wants to pick it up. At the moment we tried it out in Europe because we have a lot of veterans who want to try out an event which does not involve throwing. We have respected the rules of 60 year old and over, meaning there is no strangle. So everything is there. 

A thousands miles starts with the first step. We have now officially started this project with our expertise and we have very good referees, they came up with other suggestions. I think it worked well we had only fatigue which is what veterans want, to get fatigue but not injured. It is just a section of judo packaged in a different way. I hope everyone will enjoy it. 

The computer draw has selected Klaudia Blaszczyszyn of Denmark as the referee who will lead the inaugural European Judo Championships Ne-waza contest. She had a brief moment to take in the information and prepare. It would seem that with the limited time available, her mind began to race.

The moment I saw it is my name on the list to do the first Ne-waza contest, I took a deep breath with everyone else. We really speculated yesterday who will be the one selected. I had four contests before I needed to go up. We had a great discussions yesterday with Mr Galea and our commissioners, so we were thinking of different scenarios what could happen and so on. So actually when the list came out I started going through different scenarios in my mind and I did go to Mr Galea to ask questions ‘what if’ – ‘what if’… so it was very quick and short time but I am very grateful for this first experience. At the end although I was alone on the mat we did it together, everyone was very helpful and supportive. I think it will be a very good project and I think it is really good for people who only want to do Ne-waza. I really enjoyed this experience.

The final day of the European Judo Championships Sarajevo 2024 will accommodate the Ne-waza  event for the following categories: M4-6; F4-6; M7-9; F7-9. To find out about the rules of the Ne-waza event please follow the link

Author: Szandra Szogedi