10 March 2024


Podgorica Junior European Cup 2024


As we are approaching the end of the Podgorica Junior European Cup 2024, we reflect on the event with Technical Sport Director of the Montenegro Judo Federation, Mr Hakan DOGAN, who’s role heavily built around sport matters, evidently, the running of this event too. He is also happened to be the main point of contact for both, the European Judo Union and the International Judo Federation. Lets start from the beginning…

The Summer of 2022

The team of the reassembled federation was established mid 2022 and we were sitting together during summertime and whilst we were discussed about restructuring the federation we also deliberated on our goals, one of which was being part of the EJU tour again. To achieve our goals, we knew there was a lot of work to be done. We reached out to EJU President Dr Toth Laszlo and his team and began to have an idea what we needed to do to be able to be back on the map. It was a process for sure, but we worked hard to achieve it and here we are this weekend. Still work to be done of course, but that is the story behind this weekend’s event. 

Step one: Juniors…Purposely? 

Yes, it is a very good question. Our plan was to start with the juniors for two reasons: we have a wider pool of judoka in this age and this is a good way to test our organising skills. We are having big goals in organising top level senior events too and this was a great way to begin our journey. It is a long process but I am sure in years to come Montenegro will be a well know country also in judo.

L-R: Technical Sport Director of the Montenegro Judo Federation, Mr. Hakan DOGAN; President of the Montenegro Judo Federation, Mr Jovica REČEVIĆ; Vice-President of the Montenegro Judo Federation, Mr Marinko JOVOVIĆ and General Secretary of the Montenegro Judo Federation, Mr Dragan MRVALJEVIC. © Filip Roganovic

Pros and Cons and a supportive neighbourhood

Initially, I thought the biggest challenge was to find the right people to work with us long term not just as a one off for this event. We were able to secure this within no time as we received plenty of motivated requests from our clubs to join our organising committee for long term. Now, despite establishing the team sooner than expected it was the first time for all of us to organise an event at such level. With that, we had great support from Bosnia and Herzegovina from our judo friends, both, Arijana Jaha and Lejla Sabeta coming over to help us. They have such an extensive experience in organising world class judo events so having their view and involvement added real value. Same goes for the EJU team, whom without, our dreams would not become a reality. They have been supportive since the get go, they told us we are one team together and reassured us at every step of the way. We as a team managed to run this event and us as a judo family, we succeeded once again. For sure, as I said before, plenty to improve, which we will robustly be working on, however overall, we received a lot of positive feedback which gives us a moment of celebration. 


At the end we are really happy we were able to mark many ‘first moments’ for example the final block being streamed on live television is a huge achievement. The most important is that we learned a lot. In every position, we put a ‘shadow man’ to learn and be able to extend our team. Lastly, on behalf of the Montenegrin Judo Federation and President Mr Rečević, we would like to thank the whole of EJU team for all their support throughout this journey. We look forward to our continued collaboration. 

Currently, there are 86 judo clubs actively working under the reconstructed federation which for a population of 600,000 shows magnitude. Podgorica will host a senior European cup next which will take place 21-22 September 2024. 

Author: Szandra Szogedi