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Monday, 24 November 2014
By Emily Goddard
Marius Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation (IJF), has warned that the migration of judokas to other sports and disciplines would represent a spiritual contamination of the sport.
He spoke of the dangers of losing athletes to other sports after National Federations and clubs have put in extensive investment to develop judokas and said that these investments "must be preserved" to keep the sport moving forward, particularly during a time of reform.
Vizer, also the President of SportAccord, also highlighted the sport's position in the Olympic Games and the desire to have a team event in the judo competition at Tokyo 2020.
"All our achievements, as well as our objective to have the team event for the first time in Tokyo 2020, strengthens our conviction that we must maintain our sport in a homogenous, unitary, clean and integral community, in order to achieve all our other objectives for the following period," he said.
"Judo wishes to preserve its heritage.
"It is important to remember that when wrestling was temporarily removed from the Olympic programme, one of the reasons was also the fact that this sport associated with and integrated also other combat disciplines incompatible with the educational values of sport."
Vizer's comments follow a notice that was distributed to inform clubs that ranked judokas cannot participate in international competitions for other combat sports without prior authorisation from the IJF.
He insisted, however, that judo does not exclude collaboration and partnership with other combat sports disciplines, but he said they must be implemented "within the limits of mutual advantages and without the migration of athletes from one community to the other".
"The migration of athletes to several sports would only represent a spiritual contamination of our sport once these athletes come back to judo, a sport whose spirit and values were acquired and transmitted through generations, from Jigoro Kano onwards," he added.
"We should not forget the history of judo and the merits of all the heroes and legends of our sport.
"I consider freedom to be one of the supreme values of humanity but we should not forget that before freedom, honour and loyalty are primary values of any community or generation.
"The principles and values of our sport are more than enough for individual perfection, on a sports level as well as on the formational level for society.
"The values of our sport, together with the honour and loyalty to judo mean a lot more than a few extra dollars for which we could sell our identity and than a bleeding on inhuman face on various podiums of other sports that never made any efforts for the education and sports preparation of the athletes involved.
"I can reassure you that the IJF decisions always serve the interests of our sport and our athletes, as well as preserving and developing continuously the values of judo and the welfare and integrity of our community."