16 June 2022


EJU Extraordinary Congress


Interim president Otto KNEITINGER(GER) was on the helm of EJU for a total of five months. On Friday, after the Extraordinary Congress in Vienna, he will be senior vice president and vice president marketing again. The 67 year-old German, a 3rd Dan graduate, speaks about…

… becoming interim EJU president overnight: „When Sergey SOLOVEYCHIK stepped down due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine it came to me as a big surprise. I was not expecting at all being asked to become president. During the first night I had dozens of phone calls and more than 300 mails within a couple of hours, including all sorts of requests. My family was into a kind of shocked stupor, so was I.“

… stepping down again: „After a few days in the job there were no doubts anymore. What was supposed to be a kind of hobby only, turned out to be a fulltime job. I needed an exit scenario. So I asked TOTH László, if he would be interested to be a presidential candidate. I am grateful, he said yes and he is definately perfectly suited for the job. Now, after about five months working as interim president I have to say: I enjoyed the presidential job most of the time, it turned out to be an interesting and challenging experience. Sounds weird, but it’s true: Some people treat you different, when you are the president of a continental sports federation. What I liked most about the past five months is the fact, that I learned lots of new things. This is quite a privilege if you are 60 +.

… what EJU currently needs most: „We need to be able to work in peace and quiet. The new Executive Committee team will define priorities such as a close cooperation with IJF, further development of refereeing as well as new educational inputs.”

… his future focus: „I have not had any time for taking care of my usual business in EJU, marketing and sponsoring. This is what I will concentrate from Friday onwards. Until 2024 I have secured 4 million € in payment as well as value in kind. We need to make sure, the cooperations are fair and efficient.“

… how to secure a close cooperation with IJF: „Our designated president Tóth László has been working side by side with IJF president Marius Vizer for many years, so have I. We are on the same wavelength, have similar ideas – that’s a good starting point.“

… the 8 new Executive Committee members in EJU: „They all have lots of working experience and excellent Judo skills. Ursa Zolnir Jugovar is an Olympic champion, Sergei Aschwanden an Olympic bronze medal winner, Moshe Ponte suceeded as head coach and president of Israel JF, our new president Tóth László is a world class organiser of prime events, including World and European Judo Championships.“

Author: EJU Media