There are dates that mark people's minds and also leave their mark on the history of an organisation. This evening, on the eve of the African Championships taking place in Casablanca, Morocco, the African Judo Union celebrated its sixtieth anniversary.
From left to right: Mohamed Meridja, Vlad Marinescu and Dr Chafik El Kettani

Sixty years is not nothing! Created in 1963, the AJU, today led by Mr Siteny Randrianasolo-Niaiko, has come a long way and brought judo and its values to the four corners of the continent. During a colourful evening, numerous awards and distinctions were presented to several key African judo actors and, through them, to all those whom have dedicated their lives to the passion of judo.

During the evening, the African Judo Union also wished to highlight the actions of the IJF President, Mr Marius Vizer and his exceptional service and contribution to the development of judo in nearly 50 African countries.

The International Judo Federation awarded a gold medal to the African Judo Union for the work carried out over these sixty years and presented the IJF plaque to the Royal Morrocan Judo Federation for the exceptional involvement of their team, promoting our sport on the national territory, throughout the continent and indeed throughout the world.

Mohamed Meridja and Dr Lisa Allan

President Vizer was represented by Dr Lisa Allan, IJF Secretary General, who received a diploma on his behalf. Vlad Marinescu, Director General of the IJF, was also present.

The ceremony was opened with welcome remarks from Dr Chafik El Kettani, President of the Royal Moroccan Judo Federation, Mr Mohamed Meridja, 1st Vice President of the African Judo Union and IJF Education and Coaching Director, and Mr Vlad Marinescu.

Vlad Marinescu

Mr Lassana Palenfo, Former AJU President, Mr Habib Sissoko, Former AJU Vice President and President, Mr Omar Danga-Loum, Former AJU General Secretary, Mr Andre Angwe Aboughe, Former AJU General Treasurer and General Secretary and Mr Hedi Mhirsi, Former AJU General Treasurer, were honoured. All played a leading role in the advent of judo in Africa and are still models for the young generation of leaders today.

Although celebrating its sixty year anniversary, the African Judo Union is and remains an organisation characterised by its youth and dynamism. In the coming days, competitors from across Africa will compete peacefully for the coveted title of African champion. The points distributed will be added to those already collected by African judoka in the race for Olympic qualification for Paris 2024.

Happy birthday to the AJU and to all African judoka who today, more than ever, carry the colours of an entire continent.

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