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Lithuanian athletes protest against current Judo Federation
Lithuanian athletes protest against current Judo Federation
11 Nov 2020 10:10

Have you wondered why you barely see Lithuanian athletes this year? Not just due to corona, but because of an doubtful situation where many athletes split from the Lithuanian Judo Federation and formed the National Judo Association of Lithuania. At the moment there is a new ACT OF HONOUR with about 40 judokas (athletes, coaches and referees) refuse to wear black belts (1-6 Dan), given by the federation. Court proceedings are in the make against the current Federation.

On Tuesday Evelina Kleinyte took a seventh place in Porec as one of the three athletes. The only top 7 result this year of the country in international top events. Also heavyweight Sandra Jablonskyte couldn’t impress this year while she was attending the 2019 World Championships GP Tel Aviv and Grand Slams in Paris, Düsseldorf and Budapest as one of the exceptions going abroad. In Porec not even a handful of athletes took part in the Junior and U23 Championships. At the European Championships in Prague only Pileckaite and Jablonskyte are registered. Jablonskyte is from the club of Judo Federation President Sinkevicius.

The National Judo Association of Lithuania unites and represents the majority of Lithuanian judo and addresses a change in the current alarming situation. The ongoing discrimination of athletes and destructive activities of the Lithuanian Judo Federation needs to be halted.

Athletes and their coaches participate in competitions at their own expense. Cost of participation in a competition (travel, meals, accommodation and entry fees) for two people (athlete and coach) exceed 1,000 EUR. Athletes who do not have such funds and thus cannot participate in competitions are discriminated against colleagues with better financial capability or those funded by the Lithuanian Judo Federation. It should be noted that sports activities are constrained, and incomes are reduced due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Obviously by not competing athletes cannot collect IJF World Ranking points to earn a spot in the Olympics.

President of the National Judo Association of Lithuania Marius Paškevičius signed a letter sent to all relevant Federations to address the current situation. Paškevičius won bronze at the World Championships in 2009. He won bronze at the European Championships in 2012 and 2014. He collected 17 World Cup medals and represents the National Judo Association of Lithuania, which is the largest organization in the country, uniting 46 judo clubs with over 70 judo coaches.