10 June 2023


European Judo Championships Veterans


Mr. Ronnie SAEZ has been involved with judo for decades. In 2010, he joined judo Scotland as a director and was Chair of Judo Scotland for a while. The opening year of his involvement with the British Judo Association was in the year of the home Olympics, London 2012. For the period of 2015-2023, he was the Chairman of the British Judo Association. As 6th Dan, Mr. Saez came to the end of his term on home grounds, he will now be focusing more in his involvement within the European Judo Union, where he was elected as Education Director accurately a year ago. We reflected on his first year within the European Judo family. 

I have had a great year, a busy year. It was nice to get a few initiatives off the ground, particularly in terms of adaptive judo and judo for children. We formed a good team with Vice-President Mr. Sergei Aschwanden and my colleague, Ms. Kristiina Pekkola. We are working effectively within and with other commission members. So, I am looking forward to next year, maybe we can implement some of the initiatives that we were planning. I found my role to be very fulfilling and feels like we are doing something really beneficial and useful for the European Judo Union.

When asked about his personal view on the relation between the veteran group and the education sector, Mr. Saez responded. 

Although veterans come under the sport sector, there is a collaboration between to ensure that this tournament and the relevance of veteran judo activity is not lost. It still has beneficial effect in terms of persuading for more veterans to take up coaching and such. 

I think the veteran judo is lot more than a sport event. It is a good lead, keeping people involved in judo, people who would leave judo at the end of their competitive career. There is  an opportunity to try to encourage them to be coaches, referees, officials, so it gives us another opportunity to expend our work force and grow judo within Europe.

As a former veteran competitor, Mr Saez won a total of six British Veteran Championships medals, three of which were gold. He also won bronze at the 2002 world masters. Although he has not had the opportunity to compete at a veteran Europeans, he had the experience in hosting one. On that note, he shared his view on the organisation of this weeks’ event. 

I think this veteran event has been excellent, the Slovenian host have been excellent. It is a lovely venue, and we are in a beautiful settings. I, on behalf of the British Judo Association, myself organised Veteran Europeans in Glasgow back in 2018 and I know how stressful it can be, so I just want to congratulate on the host for doing such a good job. 

Author: Szandra Szogedi