28 July 2023


European Youth Olympic Festival 2023


The sun always comes up after the rain. Following the first three days at European Youth Olympic Festival in Maribor accompanied with really bad weather and storms, the sun finally appeared. During these rainy days we could not help but notice some familiar faces in the coaching chair. One of which was Karen STEVENSON of the Netherlands who will be competing next week at the IJF Masters in Budapest. However, the past days, she took an unusual practice, so we asked her what’s the story behind it.

To explore, this is something that I want in the future, to help the next generation with my experience that I have. For EYOF they choose coaches, for normal competition they usually fly with club coaches. So for EYOF are national coaches, so all the athletes has different coaches and head coach of the youth team asked me in March if I would like to join the team in Maribor.

As an active athlete she now has experienced also the taste of being in the coaching chair. Travelling with the team in a completely different role, but still dynamic. What’s harder, athlete or being a coach, she told us how it looks from her perspective.

Uh, stress as an athlete is higher. But then again when I look, as an athlete you can control everything what is happening on the mat, while as a coach you can’t. At the moment I don’t know what will happen in future, still I’m more focused on athlete career, of course helping youngsters with my international experience is important. Among Dutch federation we don’t have many top athletes who went becoming a coach, federation wants to explore opportunities how they could get us involved to stay in judo after our competitive career.

The IJF Masters will be held in Budapest (HUN) from 4th – 6th of August and at the moment there are 425 athletes inscribed from 57 countries.


Author: Mario Krvavac