After three days of the Antalya Grand Slam and while the IBSA Grand Prix Antalya 2024 has just begun, the president of the Turkish Judo Federation, Sezer Huysuz, is a happy man. He explains to us why and above all what makes Türkiye a special destination for the big judo family.

“We have been organising events here in Antalya for seven years now and I must say that the 2024 edition of the grand slam and this IBSA Grand Prix are without a doubt among the best. We have had, in the last three days, a field of incredible athlete with an increasing number of competitors and among them, there were very big names in world judo.

Sezer Huysuz

I have to say that the system put in place by the IJF makes things almost easy to organise. All we have to do is follow the rules and the organisational guide and everything will work out. Guests from different ministries, the government and local authorities were impressed by the level of organisation. I know they would like many sports to take judo as an example. This makes us very proud. I can only thank the IJF for all the support.

From a sporting point of view, for us, the grand slam was also a great success. When we see the level, obtaining 6 medals for our Turkish judoka is exceptional. This motivates us a lot.

As a judoka and former high-level competitor, I am impressed by the concentration of all the athletes. This is true for athletes who have the Olympic Games as their goal, it is obviously also true for para-athletes. Everyone knows what they want and they do everything to achieve it. They are really focused. I feel like one of them; I feel like I'm on the tatami and fighting with them and for them.

I'm tired, that's for sure, because it's a lot of work, but it's a good fatigue, the kind that keeps you moving forward. So I'm happy.

I think I can say that in Türkiye, we have a real notion of hospitality. It's not just a question of sport, we want to put the delegations in the best conditions so that they can concentrate on the essentials, that is to say their performance.

In Antalya, we have exceptionally welcoming conditions. All delegations are accommodated in a 5-star hotel on the seashore; we have the sun and good food. Everything comes together to make Antalya an unforgettable experience. We have several hundred judoka living together. I find it magnificent, for example, that the grand slam judoka are together with the para-judoka and it is an excellent thing. The delegations stayed for the training camp, some came just for that. As president of the federation I am happy as I said and I feel honoured.

Antalya, Türkiye

To talk more specifically about para-judo, I must emphasise that it is yet another dimension. It's incredible. What these athletes do is just magnificent and very moving. They sometimes encounter great difficulties in life, there are many challenges, but there is judo which offers them a means of emancipation and independence. They can connect with life, it’s a very strong feeling.

In the end, between the grand slam and para-judo, there is not much difference. It's the same atmosphere, the same fervour, the same objectives. All this was made possible thanks to the vision of President Vizer and the work of his entire team. It is an honour to be part of this movement that brings the people of the world together."

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