Roberto Ibáñez, President of the Ecuadorian Judo Federation, announced, "In judo, out of respect, we start on time!" Such was the case for the press conference held a few hours prior to the draw of the Junior Judo World Championships Guayaquil. At 10a.m. sharp, in front of an audience of journalists, President Ibáñez, accompanied by Carlos Zegarra, President of the Pan-American Judo Confederation, Mohamed Meridja, IJF Education and Coaching Director, Daniel Lascau, Head Referee Director and Mike Tamura, IJF Sport Director, was on hand to answer questions from the press.
Press conference

It was President Ibáñez who opened proceedings, "I am very honoured and happy to receive you on this important day for world and Ecuadorian judo. I would like to thank President Marius Vizer for the trust he has placed in us and for the unwavering support that we feel, day by day. It is an important moment because this championship is only the sixth world event organised in our country. We have a lot to learn and that is what we are doing. With 67 countries present and more than 470 competitors, not to mention 200 coaches and officials, it is a challenge for our federation but we are ready. We take this task as an extraordinary opportunity to learn and perfect our skills. I would like, of course, to thank the media for their presence and support. You are the experts at telling the stories of our athletes. We are counting on you."

From left to right: Mike Tamura, Daniel Lascau, Roberto Ibáñez, Carlos Zegarra, Mohamed Meridja

Then it was Carlos Zegarra's turn to speak, "I also want to thank the media who accompany all our athletes and I want to send a message to the participants: it is important for them to go home in a few days with the best possible memories. I want to emphasise that the Pan-American continent will be the second most represented continent here in Guayaquil. This is important for the development of our sport."

Official draw of the competition

Mike Tamura continued, "Here I will be in charge of the sporting dimension of the competition. On behalf of IJF Head Sport Director, Vladimir Barta, I want to wish everyone good luck. With the draw, we will be ready to start the competition on Wednesday. So far, we have seen commitment from each of the organisers to make this championship a success; a big thank you to them. I really appreciate everyone's support. We knew, even before coming here, that everything would be perfectly organised. We have confirmation of this. It is an excellent sign that Ecuador is up to the task and it will encourage even more countries and federations to commit to the future."

From left to right: Daniel Lascau, Carlos Zegarra and Mike Tamura

For Daniel Lascau, the emphasis lies in professionalism and fair play, "We have selected 18 referees from among the best in the world, so that they can offer our juniors the best possible refereeing. It is both a question of professionalism and fair play and therefore of respect as well. The best juniors are here, some of them are already on the senior international circuit. A world championship like this should inspire even more, at both the national and international levels. This applies to athletes, coaches and referees alike. After this competition, I expect to have more and more judoka investing in different sectors of our sport."

From left to right: Carlos Moràn, Roberto Ibáñez and Carlos Àlvares

Lastly, Mohamed Meridja insisted on emphasising a particularly important aspect, "I am very pleasantly surprised by the welcome we received in Ecuador. What is shown to us is incredible. Yesterday I was at judogi control and I was happy to see everyone's involvement so that everything works well in a positive atmosphere."

In the wake of the press conference, the draw for the competition took place, marking the real starting point of the event. Present were the President of the national federation as well as the representative of the Ministry of Sports, Carlos Moràn and the delegate of the municipality of Guayaquil, Carlos Àlvares, while the IJF was represented by Carlos Zegarra, Daniel Lascau and Mike Tamura. Once again the importance of this world championship was underlined, not only because it brings together the best juniors on the planet and therefore represents the most important competition for this age group, but also because it will inspire generations to come. The draw for the 14 weight categories can be viewed here:

Competition programme

Wednesday 10th August

W -48kg and -52kg, - M -60kg and -66kg

10:30 Preliminaries

16:00 Final block

Thursday 11th August

W -57kg and -63kg, M -73kg

11:30 Preliminaries

16:00 Final block

Friday 12th August

W -70kg, M -81kg and -90kg

11:30 Preliminaries

16:00 Final block

Saturday 13th August

W -78kg and +78kg, M -100kg and +100kg

12:00 Preliminaries

16:00 Final block

Sunday 14th August

Mixed team event

12:30 Preliminaries

16:00 Final block

Venue: Arena Fedeguayas VPP

Roberto Ibáñez (Photo © Ecuador Judo Federation)

In conclusion of this busy day, President Roberto Ibáñez underlined once again the importance of organising this world championship here in Guayaquil, "It is crucial for the development of our sport at national and international level. The sport tourism dimension plays a leading role. Through sport, we can welcome people who would have never come here otherwise. Although we continue to follow a strict anti-covid protocol, we want to show our best face to the world and that is what we are going to do. Without the commitment of the government and the city of Guayaquil, nothing would have been possible. I want to thank them warmly. What I can already tell you is that we have put together a great team of organisers who are willing to learn and we are going to have a very nice event."

That is all we can wish for President Ibáñez. One thing is certain, there is no doubt that the Junior Judo World Championship Guayaquil 2022 will be a success!

See also