The first day of the European Championships Veterans Podcetrtek 2023 is underway. Amongst several guests, Veterans Commissioner of the International Judo Federation, FLORI Miklos, is also on site. Mr Flori is here to observe and support the event. He kindly took a short break to share his views so far.
I am very impressed. The organisation is excellent, the city is beautiful. All four-tatami providing us with notably fast paced actions. I am pleased with the number of countries and judoka attending at this event. The level of the tournament is also excellent, we have seen strong judoka from Georgia and Azerbaijan, so the event is challenging and at good standards. There is always space to improve and for us, overall across the Veterans, is to improve the number of female entries for these events. In any case we can be proud and satisfied. Who would have thought when we started this in 1996 that we would grow to this great level.
In 1996, the first veteran commission was created in Hungary. Following robust work with plenty of planning, in 2003, the first Veterans European Championships was organised. There are 37 nations taking part at this week’s event. Mr Flori, who is the highest ranked judoka in Hungary [8th Dan], explained the key challenge faced to have veterans project explored across more countries.
The primary challenge to have every single national federation involved is finances. Obviously, most of the athletes here travels at their own expense, so that is the barrier. As per what keeps them going, well, these events [Veteran Europeans and Worlds] reflect on the pure love of judo. This is the demonstration of their passion for our sport, and it is beautiful. Look at some of our 50-60-year-old judoka, they are still fast on the mat and looking healthy and fit. I am really pleased to be here to witness this great event.
You can watch the event live online via ippontv.com.
Author: Szandra Szogedi