Former World Championships bronze medallist Sabrina Filzmoser recently visited Nepal to launch the IJF’s latest Judo for Peace project.
Nepal has endured a civil war and long-term political unrest which led to the abolition of the Nepalese monarchy in 2008 after 17,800 people died during the decade long conflict. The state is now in healing and sport is at the forefront of those attempts to help children move away from a life of conflict and poverty.
Austria’s Olympian Filzmoser travelled to the landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia as part of the IJF’s commitment to use the values and power of the Olympic sport as a vehicle to develop societies and enrich people’s lives all over the world.
The 33-year-old immersed herself into her Nepal experience and presented judogi to young children, visited existing training centres and climbed the challenging Island Peak mountain (6189m) in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal.
“I had a wonderful time in Nepal, I was able to bring a lot of judo kit and thoroughly enjoy my time with the Nepali people and their judoka,” said the reigning European Championships silver medallist.
“They are very proud that the IJF has awarded them support and are using this to gain exposure in the media and to show their government.
“There are many programmes here such as the Child Watabaran Center, Nepal (CWCN), a non-profit, non-government organisation working to reintegrate and rehabilitate street children. Judo is a prominent activity and is helping to change the lives on children who have been brought up on the slums of the riverside.
“The national team is very special. Judoka of all ages from the police and military take part and currently they don’t receive any support from the Government or National Olympic Committee. They may not have support but they are motivated, enthusiastic and unbelievably social.
“I can only tell you I've never met such thankful people and I'm very happy to have had the opportunity to come here.
“Judo gives the children here not only motivation but they also become different children full of dreams, hopes and visions. They are able to find a way and possibilities to learn not just the spirit of judo but they learn to handle their life.
“Life here is hard enough, they can't rely on insurance, medical treatment or higher education. The children really captured my heart and I am very enthusiastic about the Judo for Peace project here.”