On 10th and 11th May 2022 Almaty in Kazakhstan hosted an IJF refereeing seminar ahead of an examination for international referees. IJF Head Referee Directors Mr Florin Daniel Lascau and Mr Armen Bagdasarov curated proceedings, with several members of the IJF Referee Commission welcoming the attendance of referees from 13 countries.

Mr Lascau commented, “Starting with the first seminar in Europe in Lisbon, where we selected 174 videos out of 500, offering this material worldwide, we then continued to Lima in the Americas where we hosted a seminar for the Pan American and Oceania unions. Now we are in Asia, and we are very proud that we can continue with the same standard and quality of education for referees and coaches. Here we are passing information to over 20 referees who will have their examination immediately after the seminar. Additionally we have here 35 coaches, which is amazing. This demonstrates that refereeing education is not only for referees, but for coaches as well”

It is the dream of every referee to work towards inclusion in the IJF’s community of world-class international referees. That is not an easy journey, requiring many years of hard work and dedicated practice. Referees are like athletes, preparing for competitions, practising their technique and attending their version of training camps, like the seminars in Lisbon, Lima and Almaty.

During the Almaty seminar, participants reviewed hundreds of different videos with a variety of techniques and their variations. This is just part of the preparation needed for referees to be fully equipped to judge every landing and grip effectively during competitions. The work undertaken was also perfectly timed to assist those under examination for their IJF International Referee Licence.

The highest refereeing license is firstly recognition of a long-term commitment to refereeing, while also affirming the technical level of the recipients. Once earned, the licence offers referees that all-important access to the World Judo Tour and world championships and the possibility of being included on the Olympic programme.

One of the seminar attendees, Ms Varvara Massyagina from Kazakhstan, spoke about her journey in refereeing, “Being a referee is about learning. You must learn all the time. I have studied at the Kodokan, graduated from the IJF Academy and now continue to study in the Academy again. On top of that, we must referee hundreds of events, including local and international competitions. I am very grateful to the IJF for the opportunity and hope that this exam will be successful for us.”

Of course, no event would be successful without a team of organisers. In Kazakhstan the impressive federation team is led by Acting President Mr Askhat Zhitkeyev, who is also a member of the IJF Education and Coaching Commission, “It is a great honour for us to host such an important event in Almaty and we are grateful to the IJF for the possibility.”

The IJF Refereeing Commission expressed its gratitude to Mr Zhitkeyev and his team for the organisation of the seminar and wished success to all participants in the upcoming examination.

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