The second day of the World Judo Championships Abu Dhabi 2024 saw a breath of youthful air blow through the competition. 66 children from the French High School (Lycée Jean Mermoz de Dubaï) of Dubai were visiting during the day to discover the competition as well as behind the scenes. In the coming days, they will write a special issue of 'Le Mermozien de Dubai,’ a newspaper for which they are responsible, from researching topics to writing and layout.
Meeting with the IJF President, Mr Marius Vizer

For four of them, Louise, Emma, Tristan and Arthur, the apotheosis was their meeting with the IJF President, Mr Marius Vizer, whom they were able to interview at length. During a relaxed but nevertheless very professional discussion, they were able to enquire about his role as president of an international federation and the impact of judo on society. Mr Vizer answered them frankly, which had the effect of impressing them. They all came out of the interview with a big smile and above all with a lot of material with which to write their articles.

Louise, Emma, Tristan and Arthur together with the IJF President

Supervised by several of their teachers and under the leadership of Sophie Greuil, journalist, they were welcomed earlier in the day of their arrival by Leandra Freitas, IJF Sport Commission and Judo for Children Commission, and Nicolas Messner, Media and Judo for Peace Director. The latter then took them to discover judo from behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes

From the press tribune to judogi control, including the TV studios, the warm-up room and the field of play, the students were able to discover what we normally don't see and grasp the full dimension of a world championship. You only had to look at their wide eyes to understand that this day was marked by something exceptional.

If some of them have already practised judo, for many it was a discovery and what could be better than a world championship for a first contact with the sport?

Sophie Greuil, Marius Vizer and the children

The idea behind welcoming all these students was simple: to offer young people the opportunity to understand an international sports organisation from the inside, to sharpen their curiosity and why not provoke vocations.

At the end of the day, there were stars in their eyes, there were also many images, drawings and a lot of information, so much that soon the Lycée Jean Mermoz de Dubaï will be happy to share as widely as possible.

Photos © Vianney Thibaut

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