The Vietnam Judo Association (VJA) is fully engaged in developing judo in the country. One of the main projects that has been set up for more than a year is the Judo in Schools programme.

The programme began precisely on 9th September 2022 and so far 15 schools are involved, which represents about 600 children. Two age groups are targeted: 6-10 years old and 10-14 years old.

For the federation, the goal in terms of quality is to help students improve their health through the practice of judo and to help them improve their motor skills, teamwork, confidence, self-control, respect and courage, while having fun.

Quantitatively, through the judo activities in the first 15 schools nationwide, the objective is also to offer the opportunity to deploy judo clubs and in the future to expand the programme to 50-60 schools.

To implement Judo in Schools, The VJA had the support of several partners, including the International Judo Federation, the Vietnam Sport Administration that belongs to the Cultural, Sports and Tourism Ministry, the Province Sport Department and the Province Education Department.

The federation declared, "We know that judo is a martial art born in Japan where it has a long traditional culture. Judo is a martial art that helps people improve their health, confidence, respect, solidarity, self-control, politeness, courage and many other things. Currently, judoka all over the country have a positive spirit and attitude towards community and society. That's why we firmly believe that the Judo in Schools programme will have a positive impact on young people."

When the programme was launched, teachers were very excited. Regulations for teachers, lesson plans, tatami and judogi were sponsored by the IJF and delivered to each school. The initial purpose of practising judo was to develop the children's capacities through physical games in order for them to have fun during each training session. The pupils got excited rapidly, thus bringing positive results.

Parents of students now realise that through the programme the young judoka practise the sport in a new way. It already brings positive effects in terms of physical and mental health.

Judo already has a long history in Vietnam. It was introduced around 1940 and today Vietnamese judo is ranked first in Southeast Asia. Vietnam has had athletes qualify for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. In 2023 there were over 2,000 people practising judo regularly and there are about 60 judo clubs nationwide.

"The Vietnam Judo Association hopes to have a judoka qualified to attend the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and athletes winning medals at the Asian Judo Championships in the future. From the Judo in Schools programme, sponsored by the IJF, the Vietnam Judo Association hopes and wishes that it will continue to be implemented in the first 15 schools and expand to many other schools nationwide," explained the federation, before adding, "the Judo in Schools programme is necessary because we believe that students should discover the sport as early as possible. By practising a martial art at school, it will increase students' positivity. As the judogi are given as part of the programme, it is good because the families do not have to pay for their participation."

If the IJF Judo in Schools programme is very meaningful for the federation and for the development of judo in Vietnam, the hope to receive more programmes is high. 15 schools is a first step, that without any doubt will lead to more judo in Vietnam.

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