The news was just released that Jean-Luc Rougé (FRA) has just been added to an exclusive group of outstanding judoka, as his 10th dan is ratified after a unanimous vote of the IJF Executive Committee.

He thus joins a small group of great personalities of world judo who have reached the highest level in our ranks (CLICK HERE).

The man who was the first French world champion in history, in 1975, and so opened the modern era of French successes, dedicated his entire life to the development of judo both nationally and internationally.

President Marius Vizer announced the good news to Jean-Luc Rougé, "On behalf of the International Judo Federation, we are pleased to inform you that following the IJF Executive Commmittee’s vote, you have been unanimously nominated for the grade of 10th dan.

Photo © David Finch

Congratulations on this important achievement that stands in recognition of your exceptional judo career and distinguished contribution to the development of judo and the promotion of its values worldwide. We wish you continued success in your activities and look forward to continuing a fruitful collaboration."

From athlete to coach, then to administration and elected manager, Jean-Luc Rougé has never spared his efforts to advance the judo cause, both on a sporting and educational level. He was again on the ground recently, in Japan during the last grand slam of the season and then in China to work with the Chinese Judo Association on its development plan.

In 2017, the tenth dan was awarded to Franco Capelletti (ITA) by IJF President, Marius Vizer, and Jean-Luc Rougé © Boris Teofanovic

For more than twelve years, he was the highly respected Secretary General of the International Judo Federation. After handing over to Dr Lisa Allan at the recent congress in Doha, he continues to travel the world to promote the values of our sport.

On the occasion of passing the baton to Dr Allan, Jean-Luc Rougé explained, "After my career as an athlete, I have worked in the sports, education, projects and administration sectors. Everything has always been fascinating and it is moreover this passion for judo and what it represents that has guided me."

Jean-Luc Rougé in China, December 2023

Passion and commitment are undoubtedly two of the most striking characteristics of Jean-Luc Rougé's career. Following the announcement of his 10th dan, he declared, "When you start judo, it seems so far away and you tell yourself that you will never get there and then there you are, you reach this level. For me, it's a bit similar to when I became world champion. It seemed impossible and it became reality.

When President Marius Vizer informed me, I was the first to be surprised. Judo is about the path. In a way, I'm at the end of a path and I've reached the top of the ladder. I have always lived for and through judo and I will continue to do so and with the same passion but a new grade.

More than 30 years of General Secretariat: Hedi Dhouib (right) from 1993 to 2011, Jean-Luc Rougé (center) from 2011 to 2023 and Dr Lisa Allan (left) from now on.

Of course, it is a huge honour that President Vizer and the entire Executive Committee recognise me this way. It is also a burden and responsibility with regard to everything I do and say. I am very proud to be able to continue to contribute to the development of our sport."

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