A judo techniques and refereeing seminar for beginners and coaches was held from 11th to 15th March 2024 in Ethiopia and was a massive success, demonstrating the steady development of the sport in the country.

The seminar took place in the regional state of Oromia, the largest regional state in Ethiopia with 35 million inhabitants. It was organised by the Oromia Regional Judo Association and the Dire Dawa Regional Judo Association in co-operation with the Ethiopian Judo and Ju-Jitsu Association.

The activities were led by Seifu Mekonnen who is in charge of the Oromia Judo Association and was instructed by Hailemariam Amare, executive board member of the Ethiopian Judo and Ju-Jitsu Association and head of sports organisation licensing in the Dire Dawa Sports Commission.

Hailemariam holds a masters degree in sports science, has international experience, has attended various IJF seminars and has also coached athletes at the international level. He is known as a pioneering Ethiopian judoka who earned his black belt in Cuba many decades ago and has been working within judo since Dr Tsegaye Degineh and Johannes Daxbacher (GER) brought modern judo to Ethiopia under the principles and values of the IJF. "He is a true Ethiopian with a judo heart.” said President Degineh.

On the first two days, the seminar focused on the development of judo for beginners and advanced athletes, while the last days were dedicated to refereeing. This offered an opportunity to present the IJF rules and judo ethics. If judo is well under way in Ethiopia now, there is still a lack of equipment and thus the training sessions took place in two shifts per day.

All the athletes promised to work for the development of judo in their regions and also in Ethiopia and to protect the sport. At the end of the day, the media was also present, putting everyone’s hard work under the spotlight.

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