The opening ceremony of the Veteran European Judo Championships 2022 was attended by a number of representatives for the host nation including Mr. Eleftherios AVGENAKIS, Deputy Minister of Culture & Sports of the Hellenic Republic; Mr. Georgios PITSOULIS, Authorized Sports Consultant of the Region of Crete; Mr. Dimitrios MICHAILIDES, President of the Hellenic Judo Federation; and Mr. NAKAYAMA Yasunori, Ambassador of Japan to Greece.
On behalf of the European Judo Federation, Mr Otto KNEITINGER gave some opening words following a special presentation for the most senior competitor in the world, Mr Niko KLOUVATOS at 93 years-old.
Dear Mr Klouvatos, dear guests, on behalf of the EJU I would like to welcome you here in Heraklion, Crete, for a great Veteran Europeans, for me its a pity that because of corona and political situations we are not at the full capacity here, but we have to stay together so that we increase numbers for the next years. Thanks to the ministry, to the Hellenic Judo Federation, Mr Michailidis, Mr Iliadis, the government for the support of the event. In my opinion the veterans are the soul of judo because you don’t stop at 30 years, you stay in your whole life, you teach our children, keep our clubs alive, we need you and thank you for staying with us, and to the future, we hope to have 800-1000 once again in the veteran championships.
Thank you again to the federation for the organisation and hospitality and to the EJU team, to the volunteers who are helping us for the event. With these words I open the Veteran European Judo Championships here in Crete.
Mr Michailides addressed the officials by his side as well as the guests and judo family present,
I welcome you to this venue hosted in Heraklion, the Hellenic Judo Federation was chosen to host the European Veteran Judo Championship here in the majestic Crete. This venue is a golden opportunity for the elevation and development of sports tourism in our country and real proof of the trust of the European Judo Federation’s in the Hellenic Federation. Nevertheless this venue is not only about the games it’s also a huge celebration and a great opportunity for the participants because they will experience the well known Greek hospitality.
Mr Pitsoulis expressed his gratitude for those attending and explained the importance of this event which was staged with the support of the Cretan region. It is an example of the regions continuous support to all sporting events which contributes to their title of ‘capital of sports’.
I would like to thank the European Judo Union and the Hellenic Judo Federation that trusted us to host this event in our city, Heraklion. I’m really glad that we host such a special sport event since through the eyes of those veterans, I outline the fighters of life. Those heroes are setting an example of courage and confidence for the younger. Our veteran athletes are also spreading an optimistic message to their peers that life goes on and it is full of potential.
This event is also important because the audience will have the chance to get in touch with the well known sport of Judo. As its name speaks for itself, Judo shows the “path of kindness” what we all must follow. I wish you all good luck!
So far the competitors have demonstrated great judo and spirit in line with the ethos of our sport and no doubt this will continue in the upcoming days.
Author: Thea Cowen