General Secretary of the IJF Mr Jean-Luc Rouge opened day two of the Refereeing Sport and Education Seminar in Doha, “Thank you to all attendees for all the work you do for your federations and for the sport of judo. Of course you, we, must continue and I have the pleasure of working with you today.”

Mr Rouge passed proceedings on to his colleague in order for the speakers and presenters to get started. IJF Director of Education and Coaching Mr Mohamed Meridja gave the first introduction for the day, continuing from yesterday’s in depth discussion of the rules, “we have been entrusted with judogi control operations since 2009. Judogi control is important for all of us. It ensures all athletes have the right equipment to be able to participate equally and with the right tools for their job.

Education and Coaching Commission Assistant Director Mr Mohamed Azzoug and Commission Member Mr Michel Huet gave a detailed demonstration of all judogi control details. With the help of colleagues this was delivered seamlessly in English, French, Spanish and Russian. All judogi rules can be found on the IJF website, for reference.

Judogi control demonstration

It was explained that the purpose of well-fitting judogi is to facilitate a partner’s kumi-kata, in keeping with the true spirit of judo. With unhindered kumi-kata comes increased attack rates and of course more ippon throws.

Mr Huet added, “We want judo to be more attractive to our spectators. The more spectacular the judo the more we can maintain and improve our ranking within the Olympic movement. When the jacket is out there are more breaks and less technical efficiency.

We thank all federations and their coaches for making the effort to ensure guidelines are met. As we get closer to Tokyo this situation is improving all the time.”

Mr Azzoug continued, “With strict judogi control there are less judogis coming loose and therefore the flow of contests is smoother. At the Osaka Grand Slam, with many breaches of judogi control and with strict application of the rules, only four instances of jackets coming out were recorded. This led to a very high throw rate and a wonderful spectator experience.”

The presentation made it clear that the IJF aim is for all judogi to pass judogi control, in particular for the next Olympic Games in Tokyo. We don’t want to see any coach absences matside.

Federations are kindly requested to observe IOC Rule 50 regarding advertising. Only the IJF logo, manufacturer logo and national flag or emblem will be allowed. The IJF recommendation is that it may be better to have publicity sewn onto the gi rather than embroidered into it. This way they can be removed at the Olympic Games, allowing athletes to compete in their own judogi.

There was clarification sought and given on the recently changed rule regarding coaches and judogi violations. Each new instance of judogi control offers a new opportunity to get the sizing right and coaches are no longer out for the whole day of competition. If the athlete presents in an appropriate gi, the coach can continue to matside even if the athlete failed judogi control in a previous round. An athlete only loses the coach for contests in which they are not in the correct gi, for sizing reasons. The main aim is not to penalise but to ensure all athletes have the right equipment. Mr Azzoug smiled, “remember the judogi is not yours, it is your opponent’s!”

While considering efficiency in all areas at all competitions, IJF Sport Director Mr Vladimir Barta spoke about our need for a joined up effort with regard to the use of the warm-up areas.

“We cannot do it perfectly without coaches. Coaches tell us it is impossible to warm-up in the dedicated area. Other coaches are sleeping on the mat or setting up physio on the mat. So we need to work together to solve this. Dr Lisa Allan, IJF Competition Manager, makes the request in every draw for the warm-up area to be used appropriately for the purpose of warming-up for athletes with imminent contests."

Head Sport Director Mr Vladimir Barta and Sport Director Mr Daniel Lascau discussing the positive impact of education programmes for coaches

Mr Barta stated, "The power we have now in the IJF Academy can help us. We can use this as a functional point of education. We don’t want to make restrictions and work as a policing system. We want to work with an education system. So please, all coaches, help us to make the final run up to Tokyo the very best experience for all of the teams.”

With meaningful education front and centre at the seminar, IJF Anti-Doping Co-Ordinator Ms Andrea Ember reminded the assembly of the Clean Judo page of the IJF website and asked all federations to note the changes to in-competition’ testing during and in the lead up to the Olympic Games. Normally the in-competition period begins 12 hours before an athlete is due to compete and for Tokyo 2020 this is still true but with the testing process being taken over by the IOC and International Testing Agency (ITA) for the period opening 2 weeks before the Games and closing as the Games is completed.

There can be no intervention from the IJF or national federations with regard to how and when athletes are tested, but following one challenging situation at the 2016 Olympic Games a task force has been established with the ITA to ensure judo, as a sport with weight control as an integral aspect, will have their needs met. Testing procedures which could have an impact on making weight or on performance will be avoided, with doping control officers being fully briefed in this regard.

Ms Ember closed her lecture with a clear message: “Clean and fair judo is the only true judo.”

IJF staff at the seminar, including Ms Andrea Ember

With Education and efficiency visible throughout the seminar, equity also played its part in proceedings. IJF Sport Director Mr Armen Bagdasarov reported that the Youth Olympic Games in Dakar in 2022, will have an increased athlete quota from 104 in 2018, to 128 athletes. The number of male athletes is equal to the number of female athletes. Singapore 2010 was almost like a trial event but it has really grown in interest and now there is a real emphasis on preparation for this event from many countries.

Dr Lisa Allan, IJF Competition Manager, member of the IJF Executive Committee and Chair of the Equity Commission was very pleased to see that 53 women attended the seminar, a rise from previous years. It has now been agreed that in the future the IJF will fund accommodation for a third place for any country normally bringing two men to the seminar, for a woman who is a national coach or a licensed referee. Historically two places have been funded per country but moving forward this new policy will provide additional support for women choosing to access this IJF education stream.

The 53 female delegates attending the seminar in Doha this year

As the seminar weekend came to a close President of the Qatar Taekwondo, Judo and Karate Federation Mr Khalid Hamad Alatiya thanked the IJF and all attendees, "I would like to convey a profound appreciation for the IJF and also our gratitude to all for attending this seminar. We are looking forward to meeting you again for the Masters while wishing you all the best. Peace be with you”

Mr Rouge responded, “we are happy that you have the same philosophy of sport as us and you offer us fantastic venues for sport. The spirit of judo is fairplay for everybody and we really feel that here. The example we set for all the world is our real legacy, more than the result.”

President of Judo Union Asia and Vice President if the IJF Mr Obaid Al Anzi also thanked Mr Marius L Vizer for offering the opportunity for Asia and Qatar to have the honour of hosting this important education event. “I thank Mr Barcos, Mr Barta and Mr Meridja. I wish everyone many benefits from their attendance today and I am really looking forward to seeing you back here again for the IJF Masters and for the 2023 World Championships.”

IJF General Secretary Mr Jean-Luc Rouge and Qatar Judo Federation President, Mr. Khalid Hamad Alatiya

Head Referee Director Mr Juan Carlos Barcos then addressed the room, “We thank you on behalf of the Education Commission. Your fantastic collaboration allows us to move forward with the rules and make the Olympic Games the very best ever. We look forward to having the opportunity to do this again next year, to be able to continue to talk about this sport that we all love.

After the close of play I spoke with IJF Sport Director Mr Daniel Lascau about his views on education for the IJF in the future.

“I am very happy that we can have on the same level the referees and coaching, with education at heart. All members of our judo community are united in the seminar. We have made big steps and can for sure continue to improve. This will cascade down to the juniors and cadets and to the children in the world’s clubs.

From the point of view of education, Judo is way ahead, as an Olympic sport and as a martial art, our development of mind and body is second to none and we continue to drive these key principles of education.”

The full seminar can be viewed online Via a link from

All 293 seminar participants
See also