11 June 2024


European Judo Championships Kata


The afternoon block of the second day of the European Judo Championships Kata Sarajevo 2024 saw the opening of the adapted kata tournament as part of the continental championships. This is the first time that the EJU has had an official event where both able-bodied and people with physical and intellectual disabilities were competing together in the same event. Sarajevo once again proved its value as the city of judo in Europe whilst marking a historic moment. By the end of the first demonstration of Adapted Judo Kata, many people were in tears, filled with astound emotions.

Over a dozen of pairs came to contest for the European title across four categories. Winner pair of the Adapted Nage-no-Kata, (Adapted Judo) 1B, Cees ROEST – Sebastiaan FRANSEN (NED) were over the moon;

I feel great it is nice to be the winner but what’s more important is that more people joined adapted kata and that is a real win for me. I did judo prior to my car accident too. In 2003 I got my black belt via the first adapted kata exam in the Netherlands. I have cried myself when I saw the others performing their kata because I have been doing it for so long and this is the first big championships. This is also the validation of our hard work. And it is two of us in this, my Uke has a very important role so it is our work together. This event is a clear message that judo has no limits even if you have disability you can still enjoy judo in many ways.

Ms Marina Draskovic, leader of EJU Adapted Judo program expressed her thoughts after the event;

First of all, holding the first official Kata European Championship for judoka with disabilities is a huge step forward. I believe that this will motivate many judoka with disabilities in Europe to perform in next year’s championships. So this is a key step for the development of adapted judo within the European Judo Union, but also a significant event for judoka with disabilities who were performing today.

Secondly, holding the European mainstream and adapted kata championship at the same time without the need to additionally promote inclusion is the final step towards inclusion. When we don’t have to mention the word inclusion and we hold this kind of European Championship completely naturally, only then we have achieved enormous progress, not only in judo but in the world of sport in general. Today, the European Judo Union is an example of a wider social influence in all sports.

Dr TOTH Laszlo, the President of the European Judo Union also had special feeling about the occasion;

It was three years ago in Rijeka when I first saw adapted judo in action in this form, led by Marina Draskovic. I was deeply touched and since we are working hard with all of our colleagues to build and promote adapted judo. We made huge progress last year by establishing common rules for all and create divisions accordingly. This is a fantastic project and this year we have implemented a tour for them too. I believe that kata should play a primary role in adapted judo, not the shiai. In any case, this project is an important tool for the judo community to support individuals with disabilities and their community, which carries the values of judo further.

With the Kodokan Kata Seminar beginning tomorrow, Mr UEMURA Haruki, President of the Kodokan Judo Institute was also on site to witness this significant moment in the history of judo.

I was happy to see these demonstrations, seeing they all doing the best they can which is in line with the judo spirit. Even some people are disabled, instead of using their leg they used their arms and still create sufficent kuzushi, I was very happy to see that. It is very important that judo is able to accommodate for a wide society, if not almost for all. Kano Shihan taught judo like that, with such a philosophy. I would like to see this project developing, not only by delivering techniques but also have the opportunity to practice bowing procedure and safe ukemi, this is also very important in judo.

Judo once again achieved an incredible milestone creating a significantly important, acceptive and inclusive environment within the judo family. All results can be found via the following link.

Author: Szandra Szogedi