Not a day like any other: At the invitation of EJU Vice President Sergei ASCHWANDEN (SUI), six top European judoka were guests of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne: Alice BELLANDI (ITA), Barbara MATIC (CRO), Michaela POLLERES (AUT), Francisco GARRIGOS (ESP), Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) and Nils STUMP (SUI). With the exception of the Swiss world champion (-73), who suffered a left shoulder injury (torn ligament) at the European Championships in Montpellier (FRA) in November and is slowly working on his comeback, they all came directly from the Paris Grand Slam and the subsequent training camp.
The EJU delegation was welcomed and looked after by the only IOC staff member with a judo past: Pedro DIAS (POR), 41, 2008 Olympic participant in Beijing and 2008 European Championship bronze medallist in Lisbon.
The highlight of the two-hour visit was a small ceremony of honour. As Olympic participants – above all Lukas Krpalek, a two-time Olympic champion, and Michaela Polleres, a silver medallist – the judo sextet immortalised themselves on the (glass) wall of Olympic heroes and all received IOC diplomas.
“It was a special moment that got under our skin and it was interesting to see how the IOC is organised, with more than 800 employees. We all felt very honoured,” emphasized 33-year-old Czech Lukas Krpalek, thanking Pedro Dias and his colleagues. IOC Communications Director Christian KLAUE returned the compliment: “World-class athletes of your calibre are the true heroes of the Olympic Games and judo has been an integral part of the Olympic sporting calendar since the 1970s.”
Author: EJU Media