“The IJF is fostering peace, friendship and unity everywhere the judo values are needed.” ~ Marius Vizer, IJF President
Our Judo for Peace programmes have been running for over 15 years, in various parts of the world, be it in conflict zones, refugee camps or areas with tense social or political conflicts. We are investing in peace because it is our firm belief that sport can contribute and even solve conflicts. Judo for Peace is also aimed at fighting all types of discrimination and the IJF has a considerable record of defending these principles which also constitute the essence of Judo.
President Vizer declared, “The reintegration of the judoka from Russia and Belarus in the international competition circuit relies on unassailable arguments. First of all, one of the main pillars of the Olympic Charter remains the discrimination-free participation of athletes, without exceptions.
Furthermore, the Russian and Belorussian judo athletes, regardless of their professional profile, from the beginning of the invasion until now, have never participated in any military activity and have avoided involvement in any political or party propaganda, as their decision was to remain in sport and continue to prepare, waiting for the moment they can return to competition.
Sport has always been, continues to be and shall remain the most important platform for unity, solidarity and friendship, even if not between nations, surely between people. The Olympic Movement and the wider sports movement are the only bridges that in this current difficult moment can manage an open dialogue and create a reconciliation model which could inspire all parties involved in or supporting the conflict, to solve the existing antagonism.
Having had two previous Olympic Games experiences where governments prevented their own athletes from participation, today we are in an extreme situation, where governments are banning or blocking athletes from other countries, not their own, from attending international sports events.
I consider that condemning the athletes who, through their participation in sport are obviously supporting peace, friendship and solidarity, in the spirit of humanity, is an excessive and unacceptable measure.”