19 May 2023



Portugal is a southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain. A country with the oldest borders in Europe and an exceptional range of different landscapes. It’s location on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced many aspects of its culture. The mild climate brings around 3000 hours of sunshine per year and 850 kms of splendid beaches. The mainland Portugal occupies an area of 88,889 km2 with the population rising over 10 million.

Nuno Delgado at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Photo: Portuguese Judo Federation

Nuno Delgado winning Portugal first ever European gold in 1999. Photo: Portuguese Judo Federation

The National Judo Federation of Portugal was memorably established on the 28 October 1959. A date which aligns with the celebration of world judo day which itself connects to the birthday of the founder of judo, Prof. Jigoro Kano. Today, there are 17455 registered judoka across 248 clubs, impressive for its size. The current national team needs no introduction, however, major successes in the history of Portuguese judo reaches back decades with one of the birth marks shaped precisely by Nuno DELGADO who stamped the first Olympic judo medal in a form of bronze in Sydney, 2000. Prior to the big debut, Delgado also secured the first ever European title in 1999. 

Telma Monteiro, Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist.

Jorge Fonseca celebrating his bronze medal at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.

The fourth senior European title won by Monteiro in 2012.

First ever world gold medallist for Portugal, Jorge Fonseca at the Tokyo 2019 World Judo Championships.

Jumping back to the Olympics, Portugal was able to relive the celebration of a bronze performance at Rio 2016 by the first female judo Olympic medallist, Telma MONTEIRO, who is undoubtedly well known around the block. Although at last week’s worlds she couldn’t grasp a medal, Monteiro is also recognised for her extensive collection of world and European medals.  

The latest Olympic Games allowed for memories to be once again recreated. In Tokyo 2021 the bronze battle was won by no other than Jorge FONSECA. Leading up to his Olympic success, the 30 year-old judoka managed to dent a double world title to his record as well as into the Portuguese history books. Despite Fonseca being the sole world gold medallist to date, Portugal embraces the total of 14 senior world medals. In the Veteran division there is additional 16 world medals, whilst the Kata groups adds another two to the total tally. 

Jose Gomes won veteran world title at the age of 66. Judo for all! Photo: IJF

Jose Gomes, veteran worlds 2021 gold medallist. Photo: IJF

Portugal holds a sum of 41 European Championships medals. Following Delgado’s European debut in 1999, four other judoka managed to claim victory at the prestigious continental stage, namely, Michel Almeida, Telma Monteiro, João Neto, João Pina. Off the seniors, the juniors collected a total of six European gold up to present time. Meanwhile, the veteran team earned 10 glittery gold in Europe with the Kata crowd marking a total of 10 triumphs so far. With the upcoming Cadet Europeans next month, can Portugal open another page in their history books on home soil? 

Off the mat… Did you know? 


Author: Szandra Szogedi