28 February 2014

Zambia: Govt Salutes Judokas

GOVERNMENT has identified a piece of land in Lusaka where a Judo Centre of Excellence to cater for Southern Africa will be constructed.

Sports Deputy Minister, Christopher Mulenga made the revelation when he officially opened the first-ever International Judo Federation (IJF) development workshop for Southern Africa at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka yesterday.

Mulenga said Government had found a place where the centre of excellence would be built and thanked IJF for Zambia as the host nation for the centre.

He also commended IJF for its plans to finance the building of a dojo at OYDC.

"I wish to commend the IJF for the plans to finance the Judo Hall at OYDC and also thank you for choosing to set up a judo centre in Zambia," he said.

Mulenga also said Government was happy that Zambia had been accorded an opportunity to host the first-ever International Judo Federation developmental workshop for Southern Africa.

He said hosting of such developmental sports workshops was very vital to Zambia as it was in line with Government's policy on improving sport in the country.

"Judo in Zambia is one of the visible sports disciplines that is making remarkable progress. We saw them reaping 14 medals at the Zone Six Youth Games that were hosted in Zambia in 2012,"he said.

Mulenga also praised the Zambia Judo Association (ZJA) for being one of the local sporting organisations which had no internal squabbles and enjoyed cordinal working relationship among the members.

Speaking at the same function President for Southern Africa Judo Federation, Edony Haiting thanked Zambia for being the first country to host the developmental workshop.

She said the event was an important workshop which would look at ways of solving problems the sport faced in Southern Africa and also on how best judo could be improved both at regional and world level.

Japanese Ambassador to Zambia ,Kiyoshi Koinuma challenged African Judokas to beat their Japanese rivals at the Olympics to be hosted in Tokyo in 2020.

"I am looking forward to the development of African Judo and waiting for you to showcase your skills at the Olympics to be hosted by my country in 2020,"

ZJA president, Alfred Foloko said it was an honour for the country to host the workshop that would explore some of the gaps in judo at regional level.

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