Dr Sanda Corak, is the president of the Croatian Judo Federation, an IJF EC member as Education Director, and is head of the Gender Equality Commission. She is spending her weekend in Antalya in the middle of the judo familly, watching and enjoying the Antalya Grand Slam 2024.

"I was away from judo events for a little while and my first comment is that I am really happy to be back, to enjoy the judo, this feeling is just amazing. I do like to sit and watch. This cannot be compared to anything else.

Dr Sanda Corak

I can see and feel that all athletes are more motivated than ever. We see that the world championships and the Olympic Games are fast approaching. They are just around the corner, obviously. Everyone knows it and everyone does everything possible to perform and to earn the last qualifying points.

The competition is running very smoothly here in Türkiye. The Turkish Judo Federation did a great job together with the IJF to host such a large event. It's impressive to see the four tatami. It sometimes makes it tricky to follow because there are several interesting contests on at the same time but it's just fantastic.

I can see that athletes are getting really good at counter-attacks and it creates very interesting situations. I can also see that ne-waza has reached a new level. Judoka are getting really good in ne-waza and that's positive to see. Today also we had fewer golden score contests than I’ve seen before. Once again this is due, I believe, to the extra motivation to win."

On 8th March the international community celebrated International Women's day and the judo family was very much involved. Sanda Corak has her opinion on this, "I am very pleased with what our judo community did to celebrate International Women's Day. It shows our true commitment to developing judo for everyone without any kind of discrimnation.

I have been following gender equality battles for years and seeing that all our judoka are getting more involved when it comes to gender equality is really positive. I am still convinced that all the promotion that we do is only the visible part of the iceberg and we need to go deeper into the subject to enforce women of course, but generally everyone, to have equal chances. There are social prejudices throughout society that we need to address. This goes beyond our sport but judo can help deal with it.

The key factor is education. We need to educate everyone and we need to make sure that women have access to leadership positions as well. This all begins at club level. If women don't have access at the club level, then they will never succeed later. In the Gender Equality Commission, this is our job, to convince people of this. Once again, seeing what was done on 8th March is very encouraging.

We are working on new projects and new concepts. Our idea is to make sure that people understand that everyone is needed. Talking about equality doesn't mean that everybody is the same. We need to reflect society, where there are men and women. What we need and what we are fighting for is for equal chances and equal access."

Sanda Corak still has some more days to enjoy the judo. If 8th March was only one day out of 365, the judo family here in Türkiye and in the world shows that it is fully committed to the development of judo for everyone without any kind of discrimination, every day.

See also