Liechtenstein is a German-speaking, approximately 25km-long principality between Austria and Switzerland. It’s known for its benighted castles, alpine landscapes and villages linked by a network of trails. The capital, Vaduz, is considered a cultural and financial centre and it is also the home to the Kunst Museum of Liechtenstein, with galleries of modern and contemporary art.
The Liechtenstein Judo Federation was established in 2007, however a Budo Federation existed since 1967. There are currently three active judo clubs in the country, accommodating almost 200 members. The population was counted a little over 39,000 (2021). Liechtenstein, unlike some other smaller nations, is indeed part of the Olympic movement and has the right to participate at the biggest show on earth. According to the size of the country and the population of Liechtenstein, it is one of the countries with the most judokas in percentage of inhabitants.
Magnus BUECHEL finished 7th place at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games in the -86kg category, a result considered the most successful achievement to date for the Liechtenstein judo family. In 2014, David BUECHEL, presumably the son of Magnus, won silver at the African Open at Port Louis which at the time was a valuable Olympic qualifying tournament. Currently, the highest ranked judoka of the country is Raphael SCHWENDINGER, who represented Liechtenstein at the latest Olympic Games in Tokyo, whilst winning silver at the Small States European Championships end of last year. Schwendinger also bagged a handful of 5th places from several qualifying tournaments from the previous Olympic cycle.
The Liechtenstein delegation at the opening ceremony of the Games of Small States of Europe a few years ago. @liechtensteinjudo
Bronze winning performance during the mixed team event at the 2022 Small States European Judo Championships.
The above mentioned Small States Europeans brought the total of six individual medals, four from the seniors and two from the cadets division. The single golden success was delivered by Marion HOLLENSTEIN in the -78kg category amongst the adults. To drop the cherry on the icing, Liechtenstein delivered a bronze winning performance during the mixed team event, crediting them with yet another European medal. The country is also part of the Games of Small States of Europe (GSSE) and altogether, across all sports, counting up to 2019, they won the total of 73 gold medals. Liechtenstein last hosted this particular event in 2011. We will see them in action once again at the up and coming GSSE at the end of next month. If you ever wander around this little, yet attractive country and wish to visit the local judo clubs, do get in touch with the organisation via [email protected]
Off the mat…Did you know?
- Unlike with other constitutional monarchy, the head of state is not a king or a queen, but a prince. Prince Hans-Adam II ascended to the Liechtenstein throne in 1989 and remains in seat presently.
- It is one of the smallest countries in the world, yet not the tiniest in Europe.
- Liechtenstein has won more Olympic medals per capita than any other country. They collected the total of 10 Olympic medals, solely from Alpine skiing.
- Liechtenstein’s national anthem is set to the same tune as the UK’s national anthem.
- The Liechtenstein flag was once the same as Haiti!
Author: Szandra Szogedi