With 118 judoka logged on for the Veteran Vibes online forum today, EJU Vice President responsible for education, Jane Bridge introduced the event and speakers, unfortunately Oksana Denisova was unable to attend. In order to make this as inclusive as possible we were fortunate to have five translators to encourage more of our veteran community to take part.
The five remaining speakers all contributed to the same message which Cristiana Pallavicino set out from the beginning, ‘Judo is for all and is for life’.
For Cristiana and Alfonso Cabral specifically, they both wish to increase the participation of judoka in the veteran community and given that it is for 30 years and over, the potential is great. Alfonso explains that the Spanish Federation has always supported the veteran community and created a commission to do so which he is a member of. The importance of this was to establish a calendar and have events for veterans to increase participation which has been successful, increasing both athletes and the medals collected by Spain.
Of course this came to an end due to cover-19 but the belief of all speakers is that judo is evolving and so are judoka. They have adapted to the pandemic and learnt to use new tools in order to train as well as the provision of online classes to continue practice.
Multiple Veteran European and World medallist Anton Cena of Kosovo spoke of the mission to help judoka make it through this trying period of no judo but to take advantage of alternative training methods including cycling and swimming. This is supported by Alfonso and Joyce Malley (GBR), member of the EJU Veteran Commission, who went in to further detail.
Joyce, a school teacher by profession but with a hobby of training for endurance events knows only too well how to adapt and has considered herself fortunate to be able to stay in contact with her international friends despite the inability to travel. She highlighted not only the judo videos online but the variety of activity to help judoka of all ages including yoga and pilates which is not only encouraging movement but importantly, is forcing those with injuries in to a state of recovery. Joyce went on to talk about studies that have been conducted by Fitbit to show that in general, people have been getting more and a better quality of sleep which in turn assists in recovery.
Questions were welcomed in this forum, some included the future plans for a Veteran European Championships which was directed at Jane Bridge. She explained that they are trying to find a solution and are in discussion with Greece and their government to have this at a later date but it is of course difficult to predict during this constantly changing covid-19 situation.
An important topic of discussion was the return to contact practice and how to avoid injury. This issue is raised for all ages and abilities but is of particular interest in this forum. Philippe Taurines (FRA) who is responsible for managing the French national veteran team encourages all to start slowly, it is about progression and that physical preparation is still key whether that be muscle of endurance training.
All in all it was a great discussion and a brilliant opportunity for the veteran community to continue to stay in contact with one another and to discuss important topics for the return to normal practice.
Author: Thea Cowen