It has been several days since the ballot box started filling up, in the warm-up area; a ballot box in which the votes for the election of the new members of the IJF Athletes' Commission were piled.

Mohammed Meridja, IJF Education and Coaching Director, who oversaw the operation explained, "We had more than 360 votes; it's a record! It shows how much the community of competitors feels about being involved in the life of our federation. Being a member of the Athletes' Commission is not a question of simply representing, but of responsibility. We were able to organise a perfect election with the support of our entire organisation, from the education and coaching department, through to the presidential office, the general secretariat, the sport and organisation commission and the media department. Under the leadership of President Marius Vizer, everyone contributed to making this important moment a real success."

Thus, one representative per continent was elected by their peers, while four athletes were also proposed by the steering committee. The nine new members then appointed their chair during a hybrid meeting, face-to-face and remote, as this is the new way to work and keep organising activities. 

Elected Members: Africa: Harriet BONFACE - Malawi Asia: Masashi EBINUMA - Japan Oceania: Natalie GALEA - Australia Europe: Matteo MARCONCINI - Italy Pan-America: Paula PARETO - Argentina

Proposed by the IJF EC and duly appointed members: Sabrina FILZMOSER - Austria Hedvig KARAKAS - Hungary Varlam LIPARTELIANI - Georgia Antoine VALOIS-FORTIER - Canada

Following the election itself, the new committee met to elect their chair person for the duration of the next cycle. Sabrina Filzmoser became the new IJF Athletes' commission chair and will therefore officially sit at the table of the IJF Executive Committee. She declared, "It's a big honour for me and for the whole athlete community. We feel that we are part of the family and we want to weigh in on the destiny of our sport. It is a big responsibility but we believe that we have ideas to share, a vision. I am sure that our new commission will work a lot to propose new ideas."

Hedvig KARAKAS emphasised the role that she and the whole commission wants to play, "It's an honour to represent the athletes and Hungary in this important commission. I'm getting close to the end of my career and I really want to serve my sport now. I will work now for the development of judo, as hard as I used to on the tatami."

Antoine VALOIS-FORTIER, Varlam LIPARTELIANI, Matteo MARCONCINI and Masashi EBINUMA had a common message, "We want to be there for our peers. Together we'll be able to do a lot, because we want to contribute to bringing judo to the next level. We have a lot of ideas."

Being physically present or not in the room, all newly elected/appointed champions were happy to be together. "We often discuss things during events, but now we will have the possibility to work together. It's very exciting," said Sabrina Filzmoser, before adding, "There is a lot to do from a sport perspective, but we also want to be involved in development and education."

With the new commission established, all athletes can be sure that they have elected the best representatives for our sport. Mohamed Meridja concluded, "I am really satisfied with the organisation of this election. It's a good example of participative democracy. Everything went really well. I am sure that in the years to come, we'll be able to work together a lot and we are all looking forward to it."

The new athletes' commission - CLICK HERE

See also