Just a few weeks ago, the International Judo Federation organized a Judo Educational Journey through Iran. For two weeks, the judo sessions chained on a frantic pace, to promote the values ​​of our sport. Gevrise Emane, triple World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist was part of the adventure. We interviewed her to explain the lessons she had learned from this program.

IJF: In what state of mind did you go to Iran and why did you accept a mission like this? Gevrise Emane: I have been involved for a long time in humanitarian causes, in associations that assist people and in particular associations that help to sick children. I have always promised to give more of my time after my sports career for this type of action and to be more active in the IJF judo for peace commission that I joined last year. This trip to Iran corresponded to this desire.

I want to promote judo for sure, but my commitment goes beyond that. I want to promote values ​​of tolerance, respect, openness to the world by using judo as a tool. In Iran the aim was multiple: promotion of female judo, empowerment of women and on the personal level, I wanted to understand the change that took place in Iran after the revolution, to confront my vision of the woman, to face my convictions and beliefs with those I would discover on this trip. Finally, I just wanted to talk to Iranian women.

To be honest, I can tell you that for me to cover my head, while it is mandatory in the country, was not easy. It's not in my culture, but since it's the law in Iran, I've complied with it. But on the tatami, in accordance with my values ​​and the rules of the IJF, I could evolve without the scarf. I think that judogi must remain neutral regardless of skin color, religion, gender, politics ... the only difference is the grade, the belt.

IJF: What had the most impact on you during your stay? Tell us about the judo sessions that you could lead, the atmosphere, the desire to develop women's judo in Iran. How did you feel about that? Gevrise Emane: I felt a lot of enthusiasm, fervor, desire to learn and also to show the achievements learned by female and male judokas. The judo sessions went very well, there were different levels, which shows the will of the Iranian Federation to develop female judo throughout the territory. Young women have impressive gymnastic qualities! It's bluffing! They also have a good technical base and already mastered jugi gatame, kansetsu waza in general, even for colored belts!

IJF: You have an incredible track record in judo. How and why do you think it is important to share this experience and why is it so crucial to go to the field with the judoka? Gevrise Emane: Sharing this experience is important in several ways: - We must first blow the locks related to beliefs! Our world lives on a lot of beliefs because the human being need them. This is not bad in itself if it does not mean withdrawal and hatred of others! In my opinion it is necessary to be open, to be curious and not to have a fixed position on things without knowing. - I must also add that I learn in contact with others! We all learn! In Judo, without Uke, Tori is nothing! Well here it is the same, to go to the contact of judokas to discover their specificities and to exchange is so important. Human contact is irreplaceable despite the explosion of smartphones and e-technology.

IJF: How do you see the future of Iranian judo and specifically that of women? Gevrise Emane: From what I've seen, Iranian women's judo has a bright future. To me it looks like the President of the federation has the will to shake up the mentalities by proposing new orientations for women, the detection of new talents, the implementation of judo in the different regions of Iran. The next step will be the international outing, competitions, but also participating in training camps abroad to confront the strong nations.

IJF: Through your participation, messages have been conveyed. What are they? And why is this needed in an ever-evolving Iranian and global society? Gevrise Emane: I have already answered part of this question a little, but I would add that the main messages conveyed were those of tolerance, peace, the role and place of women in society, ambition, work, the taste of effort, trust, self-sacrifice, and many others ... All these messages are essential in a hyper connected and 'uberized' society, where in one click we have access to everything or almost effortlessly and where negative mistrust is cultivated by some .... Trust is paramount, especially for girls. We are and we must not deny it, in a patriarchal society, where success, ambition and action are generally reserved for men! The lines are moving, it is essential to continue, to show and to accompany the girls of the whole world so that they become aware that they can be and do ALL THEY DESIRE! Action and ambition are in perfect harmony with women's statute.

IJF: You have stopped your career recently. How was this transition made and why is it important to anticipate and prepare for it? Gevrise Emane: I formalized the end of my career last February. It was important for me to take the time to think about it, to be in tune with myself, to be able to look at myself in the mirror and especially to have NO REGRETS! it is important to prepare for the end of your career, it is more comfortable especially psychologically. You know, to decide to stop an activity in which I blossomed, in which I matured, is not easy to apprehend, so yes it is better to anticipate it when it is possible. 16 years of high level anyway!

IJF: What are you doing today? Gevrise Emane: Today as a sports teacher at INSEP (French National Institute of Sports), I have two main missions: On the one hand the TRAINING and ACCOMPANYING OF ATHLETES: in charge of socio-professional monitoring of judokas of the National team, I define with them their life projects, and carry out the link between their sports project and training project. I also intervene within the formations and accompanies the sportsmen in the preparation of their competitions and other examinations. On the other hand, I am a national coach for cadets.

IJF: What are your professional and life goals now? Gevrise Emane: I can not tell you everything hahahahaha

IJF: You are a member of the judo for peace commission. What does it mean to you and how do you envision your involvement? Gevrise Emane: I am honored to be part of this commission. I hope to bring my ideas to the remarkable work being done in this commission. I am considering, and I have already started, to propose projects in certain territories, especially in Cameroon!

IJF: What role can and should judo play in our societies? Gevrise Emane: Sport in general and judo in particular have a decisive role in society. Judo is based on a moral code, that allows to "shape" the body and mind to the precepts of society. It is a tool that, when used wisely, allows the individual at any age to express themselves, develop their body, and their mind with a positive impact on the private and public sphere. I regret that political leaders often relegate the sport to a second or third role! I am aware that there are areas that demand and attract more attention, however we should not neglect the sport factor, which is a powerful soft power!

IJF: What did judo teach you? Which values ​​are the most important to you and why? Gevrise Emane: Aside from sode-tsuri-komi-goshi (judo technique)? Hahaha. Judo has reinforced the parenting education I received and that was based on work and respect for others. What judo taught me more: self-abnegation but also to put a little bit of craziness in everything we do.

IJF: As you explained to us, you have already participated in other development actions and you are supporting several associations. Can you tell us a little more and explain why you feel the need to do that? Gevrise Emane: I participated in several humanitarian actions, including one in Senegal with my equipment manufacturer Adidas and the NGO 'UnisVers le Sport' which is based in Strasbourg, France. I also support the 'Enfants Du Jardin' association, which accompanies children and adults suffering from genetic diseases, where patients have trouble assimilating proteins and they need to be put on a low-protein diet with amino acids to compensate for the lack of protein in their body.

IJF: What is your most precious dream in relation to projects and programs of this type? Gevrise Emane: My dream, I do not know if I can talk about dreams. I would like to develop a project in Cameroon, in my homeland. This is important to me. But overall, any project conducted by the Judo For Peace Commission is a interesting, and any territory deserves to be focussed on! My dream: THAT THE ACTIONS IMPLEMENTED HAVE A SOCIAL IMPACT!

IJF: What is your conclusion from this first adventure with the IJF? Gevrise Emane: At the top to redo it! When are we leaving?

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