Two weeks ago, I emailed four IJF officials asking what prompted the latest IJF edict against coaching from the sidelines. Marius Vizer, IJF President, and Vladimir Barta, IJF Head Sports Director, responded to my inquiry, for which I am grateful. This is what Mr. Vizer had to say:
If you haven’t yet read IJF President Marius Vizer’s latest interview, which appears on the EJU web site, you should. It’s pretty obvious that he intends to take Judo into the ranks of the elite, professional sports in which only the countries that are Judo powers, and moneyed athletes can afford to participate. I’m not sure how this is going to play out in the long run, but if tennis is any indication- and Vizer’s camp has alluded to the fact that Judo should emulate tennis- fewer countries and fewer athletes stand a chance of competing fairly in the big leagues.
This is my final report on the 2010 World Championships. I was fortunate to speak with many foreign coaches, officials, and athletes in the stands. They provided me a non-American perspective on our sport, which not surprisingly mirrors how I feel about Judo’s new direction.
Most of the Europeans I talked with are not in favor of the new rules. The paradox is that it appears that an EJU clique of “reformers,” consisting of Marius Vizer, Vladimir Barta, and Juan Carlos Barcos, has hijacked the IJF, and is most responsible for the remaking of Judo along the lines of professional tennis.
It isn’t often that I agree with the direction the International Judo Federation (IJF) is taking Judo, especially with the rule changes recently announced. However, I must give kudos to IJF president Marius Vizer for his next project, which is being called the World Championships for Small Countries, whose populations are less than 1.5 million. I think this is a fantastic idea that will help Judo grow in the 48 countries that are current IJF members with fewer than 1.5 million inhabitants. It may also encourage other small countries to begin implementing Judo programs. Continue reading