Laurent Petrynka is a very busy man during these days in Belgrade, where the ISF u15 World School Sport Games 2021 are taking place. The President of the International School Sport Federation, with whom the International Judo Federation has a strong partnership, explained the strength of the agreement between the two organisations.
Laurent Petrynka

"The IJF was one of the first international federations with which we signed an MoU several years ago and this subsequently gave us many ideas for development. Through all our exchanges, we explore and put strategies into action in many sectors and we are always very happy to be able to strengthen our cooperation.

It all started with a meeting with President Marius Vizer. We immediately shared a common vision for the sport and a community of sympathy. Any development project relies, above all, on people and I can say that Marius Vizer makes people want to work with him.

The ISF is a multisport federation and it is therefore important that we come as close as possible to international standards as decreed by the IJF. We must not reinvent sports rules. Since we are dealing with a school audience, we adapt to this context, but cooperation with the international federation is crucial to guarantee the technical dimension of sport.

Beyond this technical aspect, we are also very satisfied to be able to cooperate in the field of the training of coaches, athletes and referees. These are not easy tasks to implement but once again the support of the IJF is very important.

ISF u15 World School Sport Games 2021

Another area that is dear to us is that of institutional communication and relations with member countries. For several years we have been able to work closely with the IJF to increase the presence of school sport throughout the world, as in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. I have to admit that the combat sports network and judo in particular are very effective."

During the ISF u15 World School Sport Games 2021, a forum on the theme of 'School Sport - the springboard for a healthy lifestyle' was also organised, in which the IJF took part actively. Laurent Petrynka took the opportunity to come back to the importance of such an event, "We are convinced that school sport carries in its genes the double message of sport and education. When we bring together personalities from different horizons, as was the case in Belgrade, this allows us to send a common message and to reinforce the idea that we do the same job, that of educating our children.

The forum is a moment of exchange and high-level culture. It allows us to further develop the presence of sport at school. Everybody wins."

There are still many avenues that President Petrynka wishes to explore, "We wish to continue working with the IJF on the participation and involvement of national school federations, as well as on our relations with the national federations. Africa is a geographic area in which we are also working a lot."

All these great projects and this positive collaboration are based on a detailed analysis of the situation. "When thinking about school, it is commonly accepted that it must contribute to the formation of future citizens. For this it is based on two major concepts, which are instruction and education.

Through instruction, we have the opportunity to develop skills such as reading, writing and knowing how to count. Through education, we reinforce values, we refine behaviour and respect for others. At ISF, we are convinced that sport has a role to play and must play a role in both sectors. Through sports instruction, we develop fundamental technical skills among which we find knowing how to throw or run. Thanks to education through sport, we optimise behaviour, address otherness and touch on a human dimension that is necessary for living in society.

Vanja Udovicic, Minister of Youth and Sports of Serbia during the opening of the ISF Forum

Sport creates habits of life linked to the fight against obesity or against sedentary lifestyles and it allows the setting up of elements of sustainable health. Sport makes it possible to improve entire fields of individual and collective intelligence, to develop positively an effective dimension. I am always amazed to see in combat sports especially, the ability of two athletes to fight and in the next minute to be the best friends in the world. It is great proof of intelligence encouraged by sport."

It would be possible to continue to converse with Laurent Petrynka for hours; his knowledge of sport and especially school sport is encyclopedic, but he is already called to other meetings. What is certain is that the cooperation between the ISF and the IJF is fruitful and that it promotes a vision of a bright future for millions of school children.

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