On 15th and 16th February 80 people participated in the Pan American Judo Confederation (PJC) seminar for referees and coaches, held on the beautiful island of Roatán in Honduras. With the Olympic Games approaching, the seminar was a good opportunity for the participants to clarify the updates of the IJF rules towards Tokyo 2020.

The seminar was attended by IJF Head Refereeing Director Juan Carlos Barco and many of his esteemed colleagues, including, Manuel Larrañaga (President of the Pan-American Judo Confederation), José H. Rodríguez (representative of the IJF in Pan-America), Ovidio Garnero (PJC Refereeing Director), Porfirio García (PJC Education Director), Gilberto Garcia (President of the Caribbean Judo Confederation) and Luis Moran (President of the Honduras Judo Federation).

Manuel Larrañaga was very happy with the increased number of seminar participants this year, “For the PJC, the work carried out in Roatán was amazing, thanks to the expertise of our guests. This event will help to improve the refereeing level not only in our region but also worldwide.”

Mr Larrañaga added: “Such a seminar is beneficial for the federation of Honduras, whom organised everything perfectly. This education event gives strong support to the countries that are in development for future competitions”.

Luis Moran said, “Having all our partners present and having record attendance in this type of event, we have been able to offer a high level of continuous professional development for coaches and referees from Honduras and from all of Pan-America.”

The Honduras Judo Federation showed their ability to host high quality events in a safe and well organised environment. During the seminar, opportunities to further develop judo in academies and armed forces in the country were also discussed. "This seminar has been very rewarding. At the end of it all judo is a philosophy of well-being”, concluded Mr Moran, an Olympian himself, who competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

For Honduran judo, the seminar was not only a great opportunity for the participants, but it will definitely have an impact on the whole country in the future. José Ordoñez, who was a member of the organising committee said: “All our referees and coaches now have the knowledge needed to share a new vision of international judo and competition. This knowledge will be transferred to the athletes of Honduras and so this seminar really allows us to grow.”

Not only was the general attendance record broken but it was celebrated that the attendance of female referees increased by a very large proportion. Last year there were only 4 female referees, when this year there were 14. Elizabeth Gonzales, a referee from Mexico said: “It is always important for us to participate in these events. Since Juan Carlos Barco was present we could have the first-hand information. The increase of female referees in Pan-America is noticeable and it demonstrates that female referees are as highly skilled as male referees.”

Following the seminar organised by the IJF in Doha, Qatar, last month, the Refereeing and Coaching Seminar in Honduras was a great success and it is set to foster the development of judo in the whole region.

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