Joaquim Sergio PINA looks like a happy man. The second day of competition at the European Cadet Championships in ODIVELAS (POR) has gone according to the taste of the home team. With Odalis SANTIAGO-SANTANA (-57 kg) winning gold and Rodrigo JANEIRO (-66) taking silver the host moved to rank 2 in the medal table. The neo-President took time for an EJU interview right after the award ceremonies.
How important are those home medals for your federation?
Every federation needs sporting success. It’s no different for us, of course. It’s great, that we won one gold and could listen to our anthem. That was a truly historic moment for the audience. In any case, we are already above the target. We have never had two European cadet medals before. Only in the juniors, more precisely at the home European Championships in Lisbon in 1994. Pedro Soarez won gold, Michel Almeida silver. Let’s look if we can add any more cadet medals on Saturday or Sunday.”
How satisfied are you so far with the organisational process of the European Under-18 Championships?
“EJU President László Toth is satisfied. So we are too. But of course we can always improve. We are constantly noting down our experiences, learning more every day. But yes, things are going very well. It’s a pity that we have such great weather at the moment. Most families go to the beach at the weekend, not to the judo hall. For us, cool weather would be better.
Let’s move on to the Seniors: At the World Championships in Doha, your 11-member team (which is used to success) remained without a medal. As President, how do you assess the situation for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris?
“In Ulaanbaatar, this weekend, Jorge (Fonseca) is making his comeback. He is on his way back and was very clear with his announcement: He wants to win Olympic gold in Paris. Of course, we as a federation join him in that. We also have medal chances in the women’s event. I am confident that we will do at least as well in Paris as we did last time in Tokyo – with a third place (Jorge Fonseca/-100) and a fifth place (Catarina Costa/-48). That is our ambition!”
In 2021, the European Championships for the general class took place in Lisbon. In 2023, the cadets will compete for European Championship medals. Do you already have plans for when the next major judo event will take place in Portugal?
“We feel very comfortable in the organiser role. I can promise that we will carry on to bid for major EJU events. But it doesn’t always have to be Lisbon or the immediate Lisbon area (with Odivelas). We would also like to go to other provinces…”
Can you be more specific about that already?
“Portomao in the Algarve, for example, would be ideal for a European Youth Championships. They have an excellent hall, more than enough hotels and the surroundings are breathtaking. If we have our way, the European judo family will soon be hosted on the beach!”
Author: EJU Media