21 April 2024


Sarajevo European Judo Hopes Cup & Technical Session Kodokan Experts


Author: Dino Stambolić

The European Judo Hopes Cup Sarajevo 2024 has fully justified the decision of the European Judo Union (EJU) to include the new competition in its calendar and to entrust the technical organization to the Judo Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition to the competition, all young judoka had the opportunity to learn from Olympic medallists through the Technical Session Kodokan Experts. Gold medallist from the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Japanese athlete, TAKIMOTO Makoto, who acted as a Kodokan Expert, and Maria CENTRACCHIO, bronze medallist from the Tokyo Olympics, shared their rich knowledge and experience with young judoka. The latter gave her impressions of the weekend,

It’s not difficult for me to pass on knowledge and passion to young judokas to help them develop. I sincerely hope to inspire young people to become stronger and achieve better results than me in life. I am grateful to be here and to share my passion with them. I think the most important thing is that this competition is structured with training, so the focus is not only on competition but also a lot of attention is paid to training. I believe that training and competition are a very good combination.

By entrusting the technical organization of the first competition of this kind in the world, dedicated to the development of young judoka, is an exceptional honor for the Judo Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Honorary President of the Judo Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Branislav CRNOGORAC was proud to host,

It’s no surprise that the technical organization of such a competition was entrusted to us, especially given the fact that we have proven our organizational abilities countless times, which is why in 2022, EJU awarded us the with ‘Best of the Best’ recognition, for the best technical organization on European soil.

Branislav CRNOGORAC. © Dino Šečić

Alongside the great names of judo sport, who passed on their experience and knowledge to the younger generation, the first competitive day of the European Judo Hopes Cup at the Arena Hills was graced by Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO), Olympic Champion from Rio de Janeiro, while Majlinda KELMENDI (KOS), another gold medallist from 2016 was in a coaching role.

Azerbaijani Rustam ORUJOV, who won a silver medal at the Olympics in 2016, also attended the event in Arena Hills in the role of EJU Sport Commissioner.

The competition was held at the highest level, this is a great experience for kids. Even if they lose, they have the chance to learn a lesson from experts from Japan and Italy. I think tournaments and technical classes like these are very important.

Rustam ORUJOV. © Dino Šečić

It’s also hard to imagine a major international competition in Bosnia without domestic judo giants, Larisa CERIĆ and Amel MEKIĆ. Cerić emphasized,

The Judo Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina enjoys great respect from the European Judo Union, and they have entrusted us with the technical organization of the first historical European Cup for competitors up to 15 years of age. In addition to the competition itself, a seminar was also held, and it will certainly mean a lot to the children who were here, especially because of the great experience judoka who have done a lot in their careers to promote judo.

Author: Thea Cowen