Eight months before the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, the French Judo Federation is mobilising all its forces. The drum is being beaten throughout the country. The programme is called “L’itinéraire des champions/Tour of Champions”. It aims to get the public in urban centres (from young to old people) interested in judo. Current and former medallists act as ambassadors. Up to 24 cities are visited each year. “The more people we reach, the better. Up to 1,500 children and young people respond to our calls,” says Frédéric LECANU, a former member of the French national team and World Championship participant. “We have been constantly developing our programmes for 20 years – we have a lot of different content for different target groups: old people, companies, judo clubs and even prison inmates. Our top judoka help to convey the fascination of judo and the judo values such as respect and friendship.”
Almost 1,200 children were invited to events in Montpellier before the start of the European Championships. The ambassadors included world silver medallist Julia TOLOFUA, Rio Olympic medallist Cyrille Maret, Seoul 1988 Olympic champion Mark Alexandre and Paralympic gold medallist Sandrine Martinet.
“We are doing everything we can to reach as many children and young people as possible. The Olympic Games in Paris are a huge opportunity for us to reach new target groups and spark even more enthusiasm. The mixed team victory against Japan at the Summer Games in Tokyo naturally helped a lot,” emphasises Julia Tolofua and organiser Frédéric Lecanu in unison.
The drum will continue to be beaten during the European Championships. The flood of medals on the first day of the competition (3 x gold, 3 x bronze) came in handy for the host. ” You can hardly understand your own words in the hall. But the spectators like it and my family too” smiles European champion Shirine BOUKLI. She was a volunteer at the 2014 European Championships in the Sud de France Arena and is now holding the gold medal in her hands. “I learnt my first throws here in Montpellier. My uncle Kader got me into judo,” says the 24-year-old and then goes into the stands to sign more autographs…
Author: EJU Media