The 5th edition of the Judo Festival took place between the 9th and 17th of June 2018. Once again, it was allocated to the beautiful seaside city of Poreč, Croatia. The anticipated event was hosted by the European Judo Union and the Croatian Judo Federation in cooperation with the City of Poreč and the Laguna Poreč – Hotels Resorts & Camping.
The EJU Education Sector established this unique event for the first time in 2014 in Antalya. Since 2016 the festival had been relocated to Poreč, Croatia. This year’s spectacular event saw almost 1100 participants; 350 elites at the OTC and 300 cadet judoka trained day in and day out. In addition 120 young athletes joined the U15/U13 training sessions. For the Improve Your Club Seminar we have had over 120 coaches soaking in knowledge from the best.
At the elite athlete end of the scale we saw two Kodokan experts present, teaching specifically to 35 judoka. The Judo Festival truly caters to all and the 5th edition saw a fantastic increase of participation on the Family Camp with more than 40 families engaging in this special opportunity.
A target was set to encourage 1100 judoka from all around the World to come together to take part at the same time, enjoying what they love most, judo. This mission has now been accomplished. When we say all over the World, we mean it. For instance, visitors from South Africa, Cape Verde and California (USA) all travelled to Poreč to spend quality time on and off the mat with the Judo Family. Vlad KAMINSKY is the coach of Tri Valley Judo Club in Pleasanton, California, United States.
“We saw the advertisement on the website and we thought to give it a go. It was definitely useful to travel here. We had a number of good opponents, the boys enjoyed the challenge and the week we spent here. The most valuable part for them was I think is the high amount of randori experience with different countries. It was great exposure to different styles of judo. Being amongst Olympic Champions was the icing on the cake. We hope to return next year with more judoka.”
The Judo Festival offers a variety of different opportunities from training with the family to watching Olympic Champions training at the OTC, or in some cases, the chance to train with them.
This Festival also attracts highly ranked research groups who are dedicated to investigation within judo. Having the educational sector be hugely involved really broadens the impact the Festival has upon it’s attendees. Professor Franchini, a well-known researcher, ranked 3rd in the World for all sport research, was also present.
Mr. MUKAI Mikihiro – 7th Dan, Manager of Education & Instruction Department of Kodokan Judo Institute said;
“I really enjoy this Judo Festival and the concept of it. Here, I feel that everyone enjoys judo and their judo life. I delivered lessons at the Kata Seminars and also visited the Olympic Training Camp as well as the U18 Cadet Camp. There are many good athletes here and the main message I will take back to Japan and teach my Japanese judoka is that we have to enjoy judo and enjoy our judo life.”
Mr. KATANISHI Hiroshi is one of the busiest experts representing the European Judo Union as the leader of the ‘Improve Your Club’ programme. This project is aimed at coaches improving the technical excellence of 8-12 year old judoka. Mr. Katanishi also spoke about his first impressions of the Judo Festival.
“I think the idea of this Judo Festival is great, there is a really good atmosphere here. It is really like a judo family gathering. There are people here from different ages, groups and specifications but we all have one thing in common: we are all connected by Judo.”
Mr. Neven STAVER – Plava Laguna d.d. Chairman of the Board expressed his satisfaction of working in collaboration with Judo;
“We are very glad that we have the opportunity to work with Judo, because we recognise that Sport and Tourism is a win-win situation. Plava Laguna is the first company that began to collaborate tourism with sport. We are certainly privileged to see number of Olympic Champions attending at our regular Judo Festival and moreover we are pleased that the youngsters can mix with them, visit their training and spend their week together. We are thankful that we will see judo back here next year.”
Closing words from the President of the European Judo Union, Mr. Sergey Soloveychik, in regards to this astonishing achievement;
“In general, we had the target of 1100 participants and now we have accomplished our target. However, this is not it. We see huge potential for the upcoming years and undoubtedly the numbers will go up to 1500 by next year. It is a unique project not only for the European Judo Union but all across the World, and across all other sports. To reach this Family atmosphere is not easy but thus judo is unique. Judo is More than Sport. Judo if also a Family, a relationship between parents, children, coaches, veterans, seniors… Together it is a magnificent Family and everyone is truly enjoying the Judo Festival.”