18 June 2023


EJU Judo Festival 2023


Closing out the week in Poreč, after most of the elite athletes had completed the OTC, taking their place on the tatami were the kids family camp and adapted judo clubs. Many were learning important tasks, and the session was lead by Nuno DELGADO, Head of Judo for Children in the European Judo Union alongside Malte GEPPERT. The latter felt the integration was especially beneficial,

I think it is really amazing for the kids to train with the adaptive kids and see that it is normal, so that they get a good feeling and not have any fear, and to do judo with them! This is the great thing about judo, it is for everyone.

Lead for Adapted Judo, Marina DRASKOVIC was also running the session. We had some very special guests and pioneers in adaptive judo, as well as the education section overall. For the home athletes, they were overjoyed to see their double world champion, Barbara MATIC on the tatami and the support of Olympic champion, Tina TRSTENJAK of Slovenia was greatly appreciated by all.

So here we have between 10 and 15 clubs including adaptive, and also we have many coaches here without kids, in the morning we have the training sessions and in the afternoon the EJU workshops for the coaches. The aim is to educate the coaches on the new rules and classifications that we agreed upon yesterday. At the moment we have three adaptive clubs here from Croatia, so the goal is to include more kids in regular clubs and push for more coaches to open clubs for people with disabilities. This is a huge step especially because this is the first workshop under the European Judo Union about classification and this was historical, so to pass this on is great. For me this is the most important training session because at the moment we have Olympians and kids who will maybe want to become Olympians one day, but also have judoka will all types of abilities. This session is proof that judo on the mat is more than sport, because no matter our abilities we can all train judo and be the best we can.

This was a very special occasion, with multiple Olympians assisting the young judoka, it was the perfect way to give back to a community that has given them so much, a case of ‘paying it forward’. Delgado was very pleased with the outcome of the training this morning.

I could say that today was an ‘Olympic Challenge’ because it so nice to see all of this inclusion and that with judo, it is possible to have everyone training together, it was really amazing.

After a very busy couple of weeks, Trstenjak has been in the Veteran and Kata European Championships, took part in the Kodokan Seminar, celebrated her farewell party with the Slovenian Judo Federation, then opened the Podcetrtek Senior European Cup and now she has arrived in Poreč to support the education sector and this important step forward for adaptive judo.

Tina TRSTENJAK is very busy on both the IJF World Tour and European Judo Tour, now she offers her knowledge and experience in Poreč. © Carlos Ferreira

This is just amazing, you know if I’m at home, I just know I would rather come here, it is very special and I think we can all be a very good influence but also this an opportunity for us to learn from these children and it’s so nice to see that they are all training together, and that they can learn from each other. I have had such a busy schedule but I’m really enjoying everything that I’m doing. As for the Kata Seminar, it was very hard, I’m aware this isn’t my strongest area and I was happy and honoured that I had the opportunity to meet the Kodokan president, and have this seminar with them.

The camp will continue this afternoon with such activities as calligraphy and then the coaches workshop in the evening. Find the gallery for the Judo Festival here at eju.net.


Author: Thea Cowen