21 December 2023



The Education department of the European Judo Union are closing out the year with the theme of modesty. It is a core principal of the sport and practice which is instilled from the first time we step on a tatami. Judo is not boastful, it is not an art filled with bravado, but one where an individual’s attitude and skilful ability will set them out from the rest.

Of course, these principals and values run throughout the practice of judo, not only at high performance, and as modesty is practiced everywhere, it can be difficult to select the top examples, so here are some from the EJU.

This year, Venray played host to the inaugural EJU Get Together for adapted judo. Marina Draskovic is a prime example of how this principal drives ideas, and in her case, turned her in to a ‘change-maker’ within adapted judo. Receiving yet another award for her tireless efforts to ensure inclusivity, she stated,

EJU Get Together Venray © Carlos Ferreira

Receiving the award, told them that my biggest award is actually the opportunity to be among these inspiring people who are standing behind amazing projects which are making really tangible changes in society. I wouldn’t be here if I wouldn’t have an amazing team back in Croatia who is doing all this job together with me. 
The EJU was mentioned with adapted judo and I was really honoured and happy that I could promote all the efforts of EJU to make judo accessible to everyone. 

Off the tatami, Denis Vieru (MDA), the current world ranked #1 in the -66kg and current European Champion, was recently given the Fair Play Award. During the Final Four Bundesliga event in Austria, the champion silently left the celebrations with his team to gift his medal to a young fan he had met earlier in the day. The father had written to say how much this gesture had meant to his son and their family, resulting in the recognition.

Denis Vieru (MDA) © Emanuele Di Feliciantonio

There are many examples of this in judo, and it makes us proud to be championing such a sport and art to our children and communities. Judo is a tool to improve our society and this is one of the most impressive ways to do so. A celebrated bout from a year ago between Teddy Riner and Nikoloz Sherazadishvili will not quickly be forgotten, showing that friendship is above all.

Author: Thea Cowen