Located in the Southern Hemisphere, Zambia has been very active over the past years to develop judo in the country as well as in the whole South African region. The IJF is currently supervising the construction of a national dojo and last October, an important visit to the Maheba Refugee settlement program was jointly organized by the IJF (Judo for Peace), the ZJA and several crucial Zambian partners including the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF) and the 'Judo for Fred' commission.
The Zambian Judo Federation is also regularly the host of the IJF Academy. Two years ago, the ZJA organized within the framework of the Olympic Solidarity, a 'Development of the local structure' session, which offered the opportunity to the association to get more structured and prepared to face future challenges. Inspired by years of hard work in judo, after his election at the head of the National Olympic Committee, Mr. Alfred Foloko answered to our questions:
"First of all, let me thank all the delegates, all the associations, the federations, for the confidence that they have shown in giving me this opportunity to lead one of the most important organization, the National Olympic Committee of Zambia.
For me I think, this comes from this year's World Judo Day theme, which is COURAGE. I stood against the bests. It was a stiff competition with the former Athletics president, a colleague of mine. We shared successes both in Athletics and in Judo. So it was a very good competition. And an other brother, who has been the general secretary of the sports commission. I think these two candidates, both possessed validate credentials to lead us, but the delegates have instead picked on me.
Of course, as I said, to be able to win this election I used the courage which was our theme of the 2017 World Judo Day.
I want to support the National Olympic Committee of Zambia, to evolve into a wide and recognized organisation that will support the engine of the sport in a very clear and transparent way. Through new activities, programs, the NOC of Zambia must improve its support to national federations and its associate members.
You know that the comment that we receive is that the national federations don't received enough support from the National Olympic Committee and that there is no proper communication. Thus I think I will act as a bridge between the associations and this noble organization.
I think I am the person with rooted values of accountability on both ressources and activities, as it can be evidenced on what we've done in judo so far.
We are a strong student of good governance, with strong affinity to transform the National Olympic Committee into a highly achieving respected, economical striving, medal achieving, lifestyle supporting and of course national federation growth supporting institution.
First, my interest will be to look into the welfare of the athletes. This would be very critical. All of us we should put our energy towards raising ressources for athletes, the past athletes. We've done it great in judo and we are looking forward to doing it now, as we have been given the mandate, with other associations. This will be our priority.
I'd like to mention some of the issues we are going to tackle now. We want to improve the institutional capacity of other national federations. Like we did in judo, we established an 8-year strategic plan, with the partnership of the IOC with the Olympic Solidarity funds and the International Judo Federation provided the capacity with an expert.
So I think this can not only end with judo. Now that I am at the head of the National Olympic Committee, I will ensure that I assist in a collaborating and cooperating way with the other international federations to guaranty that their local federations here develop capacities in terms of their business strategic plans.
And I think that this will help revising the constitutions, revising the organisation structures and of course develop new policies and introduce strong young capacities for all this sports disciplines.
I know that I have a strong team in the office, all coming from different spheres of life. We have business executive on this board now, we have veteran sports administrators. This gives us now the possibility to work extra hard."
There is no doubt that Mr. Foloko will now capitalize on the fantastic work that has been done in judo over the past years and that a new era for the development of sports in Zambia has just started. Good luck to him and his team!