There is no higher accolade than to be celebrated by our peers and those we look up to.

Coach Laura Alejandra Martinel OLY will forever be associated with the outstanding results of Paula Pareto (ARG), who became world and Olympic champion in the women’s -48 kg category, while studying and successfully becoming a doctor of medicine. Before that, Laura had already proven to be a great judo coach as she accompanied Daniela Krukower on her way to a world title in Osaka in 2003; she was Daniela's coach from her arrival in Argentina until her retirement from competition.

From left to right: Sergey Bubka, HeeKyung Kwang, Laura Alejandra Martinel and Thomas Bach

Laura Alejandra Martinel’s experience as a coach was borne out of a desire to always learn and give of her best to others, part of her personal values system, one which was explored and tested during her years as an elite athlete herself. She was a continental champion and Olympian, representing Argentina at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

Moving from competing to coaching was a natural step and having studied high performance, the switch was logical. Her capacities to be learn and teach formed a foundation for her coaching, a kind of magic that helped her to work with athletes to reach the highest level possible.

At the 2023 IOC awards ceremony, Martinel was recognised with the presentation of the ‘IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Award’ and she commented, “I deeply appreciate the opportunity to receive this prestigious award and I want to express my gratitude to those who have been crucial in my coaching career, starting with the athletes who have placed their trust in me. I also extend my thanks to the IOC for providing a special place for coaches, the International Judo Federation for nominating me among many renowned colleagues, my National Olympic Committee, my national federation, and, of course, my beloved country, Argentina.”

Laura Alejandra Martinel and Thomas Bach

IJF President, Mr Marius Vizer, said, “On behalf of the International Judo Federation and personally, I am glad to congratulate you on receiving this important trophy, the IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Award 2023. It is an honour for the International Judo Federation and the judo family to have nominated you for this prestigious award.

We take pride in this recognition that showcases your outstanding trajectory as an elite athlete, coach and judo mentor in your home country Argentina, as well as in Pan America and worldwide. Your dedication to sport, sharing knowledge and experience and contributing actively to the judo community, has been inspiring. You have promoted the judo values and played a pivotal role in nurturing new champions, both on a sporting and personal level.”

Laura Alejandra Martinel and Paula Pareto

“Your legacy serves as a beacon of inspiration for all of us. The role played by coaches in an athlete’s career is sometimes invisible but always invaluable,” said President Bach who, as an Olympic champion in fencing, understands the importance of a good coach all too well. “The wealth of medals won by her athletes is a testament to the work of Laura Martinel. More than that, Laura serves as an outstanding ambassador for Olympism and the Olympic values.”

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