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The miracle: immigrants welcome at official events
3 May 2019 16:35
For many years, the IJF has been very active to give a chance to as many young people as possible to participate in international competitions. Through its educational programmes, such as Judo for Children, Judo in Schools and Judo for Peace, it was noticed that many judoka didn't have the possibility to participate in international events.
One example is Brazilian Arthur Gottheiner who lives in Portugal and who is very talented. He won the international Masters in Bremen for cadets and other non-official tournaments in Europe. His coach Pedro Dias does the utmost to bring his prodigy to the European podium, but needed a miracle to get it from the ground. This week the miracle opened the door.
Dias: “Two years ago Arthur Gottheiner moved with his family from Brazil to Portugal to live in Europe. During this time he was not allowed to represent Brazil because he was not living there anymore. The same counts for Portugal because he was not still Portuguese. He could not even enter the Portuguese championships.”
During the Olympism in Action Forum held prior to the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina in 2018, President Marius L. Vizer declared the intention of including and permitting immigrants to participate and be integrated in the national events where they reside in order to enter the international circuit as well. This week the International Judo Federation has published the new rule regarding the participation of Juniors and younger immigrants to IJF or Continental Union Juniors and younger competitions.
Dias: “This period was extremely demotivating for a young boy who practices every day to reach his Olympic dream. For the last two years he had no country and could not fight at official competitions.”
“More or less one year ago I sent an e-mail to IJF to talk about the situation, but that stage they couldn’t do anything. One year later they find a solution for Arthur and millions of other immigrants that just want to be integrated in their new society, and sports most probably is the best way.”
Gottheiner perhaps one of the first
“We already apply for this new rule to the Portuguese Judo Federation, and now we hope that the process can be fast so he can still fight for the last Continental World Cups for cadets before the European Championships and the World championships start. Hopefully, Arthur will be the first athlete in the World to take advantage of this new rule.”
Dias who won a bronze medal himself at the European Championships in Portugal in 2008 and four World Cup medals may leave a stressful period behind.
“In one hand you have some Brazilians coming to Portugal and somehow got the Portuguese nationality in two months and already representing Portugal successfully. On the other hand you had kids like Arthur living for many years, integrated in the society, but not been able to even fight the Portuguese Championships. I hope that now all this changes. I want to congratulate the IJF for this initiative.”
Now it's up to the Federations to follow up the Judo for Peace rule in its policy.
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