18 September 2022


European Judo Championships Juniors Prague 2022


This week during the Junior European Championships in Prague, we welcomed referee, Jean Claude DJIMBI of Gabon within the African Judo Union.

It is in fact the first occasion where the EJU have hosted a referee from outside of the EJU roster for a continental championships. Since the instatement of President László TOTH, he has made it clear that a priority of his is to broaden the communication and engagement beyond our own continent.

It was a very spontaneous decision, I was together with the refereeing team following Oberwart [European Open] and we discussed the development and cooperation with other continents and as it happened, Jean Claude was one of the referees we wanted to invite. He has been in Europe for a long time and it just made sense to have him with us and so with Alexandr JATSKEVITCH we made the decision.

We want to show that Europe is open for everybody and I am very glad he accepted the invitation and we want to make an agreement with the IJF refereeing commission so that we can have this exchange with other continents and start to show our good will.

We are extremely fortunate as a continent to boast many of the top world ranked referees, most of whom we see regularly on the IJF Judo World Tour, and of course in our European Championships. Now we can ensure that alongside developing EJU referees, we can give the athletes the best possible support on the tatami with referees from around the world. Djimbi was very happy to be a part of this new movement,

I am very happy to be the first non European to referee in the European championships, it’s a new experience and the president opened the door for the all the other non European referees, with this we are writing history.

It has been said that judo is different from other sports and once again the president of the EJU shows that we have different values from the others. I am very happy to be the chosen one to pave the way for future referees. This experience has been a double success for me and it’s a pleasure to work with the European referees and I hope that others can also have this experience and come to work here. 

Head Referee Director for the EJU, Alexandr JATSKEVITCH was also pleased with this decision.

It was the decision of the EJU president László TOTH, I think it was a good idea to have him here. I have known him many years and know he has a high standard of refereeing. There is always room for improvement and a time to change, in this case it is the experience that we share and as we see here it has worked, we are open to other continents, to have exchanges and if the possibility is there, then why not!

Author: Thea Cowen