The official opening ceremony is a chance for all to reflect on the enormity of the occasion. Yes, the cadets are still in the early stages of their elite careers but this is also the most prestigious and pressured event for them so far. It is the practice, the dry-run towards the upper echelons of the world’s senior elite and it is also the first opportunity to truly test themselves against the rest of the world and potentially wear the crown of a world champion.

The opening began with a welcome from Dr Sanda Corak, President of the Croatian Judo Federation, “On behalf of the Croatian Judo Federation, it is my great pleasure to wish you a warm welcome to Croatia, to the city of Zagreb and to the World Cadet Championships.

After organising the Zagreb Grand Prix for seniors, we are glad that we also have the opportunity to host the most important event for young judoka, the 2023 World Championships. We have some new champions born in these 5 days of individual and mixed team competitions but we are also be glad to feel success in a different way with the illustration of the core values of judo throughout the competition; all respecting others with modesty and courtesy. This is only possible when we all collaborate and it is part of what is making this event truly great.

I would like to thank all who helped us with the organisation of this event, from the volunteers to the sponsors and all who continuously support the Croatian Judo Federation. My thanks go to all our IJF colleagues and to the IJF President, Mr Marius Vizer."

"I believe many friendships are being created during the event and I wish all the best for the remaining individual and team contests. I do hope that there will be some time to enjoy and experience the city of Zagreb.”

IJF President Mr Marius Vizer then stepped forward to address the assembly, “Distinguished Minister Dr Nikolina Brnjac, dear President of the Croatian Judo Federation Dr Sanda Corak, dear athletes, media representatives and all sponsors, welcome to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. This is a city of sport, culture and youth. Sport inspires people, builds bridges and unites people. I hope this tournament for the youth promotes continues to promote our judo values of peace, unity and friendship among our youngest. I wish you all a successful event in Zagreb. I also congratulate Croatian Judo and their valuable contribution to the sport.”

IJF President Mr Marius Vizer.

We discover over and over again the high regard that the rest of the world has for the judo community, in part due to the public education of all judoka through the judo values. Prestige and professionalism are confirmed when leaders among nations take the time to attend and offer well wishes, as is the case in Zagreb. It is an honour to welcome the Envoy of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Mr Andrej Plenković, Minister of Tourism and Sport, Dr Nikolina Brnjac to the 2023 World Judo Championships for cadets.

“Dear Mr Vizer, Dr Corak and all sports friends, it is an honour on behalf of Prime Minister Mr Andrej Plenković to be here at the World Championshios in our capital city, Zagreb. Thanks to the Croatian Judo Federation for bringing us together for another world class event just after we closed the Zagreb Grand Prix."

Dr Nikolina Brnjac

"64 countries from 6 continents have travelled to Zagreb for this important event and the Ministry of Tourism continues to support all activities that give opportunities to create synergies within different sectors of our country. The Croatian Judo Federation confirms again our position as a major sports event organiser. I’m honoured to announce the World Judo Championships for Cadets open.”

Following the Croatian national anthem and the IJF anthem, there was a demonstration of inclusive judo by the Judo Club for persons with disabilities Ishi and Judo Club Profectus and this completed the opening ceremony, ahead of the final preparations for the final block of the third day of individual competition at Arena Zagreb.

See also