My Blog for this week is a report from my good friend Edgardo Rodriguez, aka the Goodwill Ambassador of Veteran’s Judo in the USA.
Team USA had a successful performance last weekend at the highly prestigious Eurometropole Masters in Lille, France, held January 21-22, 2023.
The quality of this event was top and it is certainly considered one of the best run Veterans Judo tournaments in the World. There were nearly 700 participants from many countries and the competitors’ level was high.
Since the moment we arrived at the venue, the organizers gave us a warm welcome and showed us around in the venue facilities. Gary Foster was one of our pioneers attending this event and, although he couldn’t make it this time, he was well remembered by the organizers.
They offered free beer, wine, and sandwiches after the weigh ins. There was also a lounge area where you could buy refreshments and food. A vendor had a kiosk selling judogis and accessories.
For this event, a white judogi is required, but it doesn’t have to be a red label gi necessarily. A blue gi is optional. Otherwise, you should bring your own red sash or a red belt.
The registration was easy and well managed. Categories were run very efficiently. Players would wait about 5 matches for their next fight. They had a large staff helping running the event and they were identified as such with shirts.
There were categories for males, females, for blind players and we came across several guide dogs, and there was an open mat session for people with disabilities.
Further, the city of Lille is beautiful and its people are truly friendly. Getting to Lille is easy. From Paris there is a train at the Charles de Gaulle Airport that takes you to Lille-Europe Train Station. There are hotels right across the station such as the Lille Novotel or the Crown Plaza. Some of us stayed at the Hotel Campanile La Madeleine, a bit farther but quite convenient as well.
Team USA was composed by the following athletes: Miguel Diaz, Ray Marquez, Wayne Dickinson, Arthur Scotto, George Stein, George Van Ansom, and Arthur Canario. Sadly, we had two other athletes that were forced to pull out due to sustaining injuries the week before the event.
The coaches were the legendary two time Olympian Leo White, and me (PJC - Central-North American Judo Veterans Director). It was an honor sharing with Sensei Leo, who is an American institution. Many international athletes were thrilled after recognizing and seeing Leo White in this great event.
The organizers were grateful to have Team USA attending and, as a token of appreciation, they invited me to step on the podium with them displaying the USA and French flags. It was a lovely gesture.
We are very much interested in working with the French and take our Veterans Judo to another level.
Team USA results were as follows:
*Miguel Díaz (M3 -81kg) - BRONZE
*Wayne Dickinson (M7, -81 kg) - GOLD
*Arthur Scotto (M7, 100+kg) - SILVER
*George Stein (M8, -81kg) - SILVER
*George Van Ansom (M8, -81kg) -BRONZE
*Ray Marquez (M5, -81kg) - FIFTH
Although Ray Marquez placed fifth, his category was filled with World medalists. He choked his opponent in the first match and, in the second match, he threw one of the most beautiful ippons of the tournament. He lost the bronze on golden score by a third shido.
It was fantastic to meet again and exchange ideas with old friends from, among other countries, France, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Isle of Man, Poland, and the Netherlands.
We look forward to going to this tournament next year, and hope that we can bring a larger Team USA.
We are very grateful to the Comite Nord de Judo, France Judo, and our friends Jean-Luc Bartoli, Momo Halabi, Eric Fiolka, Phillipe Robiolle, and all other organizers and staff that were so kind and supportive during our stay.
We also like to thank USA Judo CEO Keith Bryant and Veterans Committee Chairman Brad Daniels for their encouragement. Furthermore, we are delighted that one of our very own Veterans is now President of the Board of Directors, Joe Ragan. Thank you to Sensei Pat Burris for inspiring us to be better coaches. To conclude, special thanks to so many other great people who work so hard from backstage to make sure that our Veterans Judo keeps growing.
Here are some assorted photos taken at the event, enjoy!
Veterans Judo USA’s Tournament in Texas
Last September 2022, while World Veterans Team USA was participating at the IJF Worlds in Poland, athletes and coaches gathered to discuss the possibility of holding a Veterans only tournament in the United States. This idea materialized last Saturday, January 28, 2023, when the first Veterans Judo USA Tournament was held in Plano, Texas.
This event was held at the amazing facilities of Eastside Dojo in Plano, Texas. The event was put together by Ken Scialo and Russ Hogan from Eastside Dojo, and the tournament co-Directors were World Championships medalists Ray Marquez and Hector Negron, and Brad Daniels (Chairman, USA Judo Veterans Committee). Chief referee was Tracy Crawford. Ed Rodriguez, PJC Veterans Commissioner, also attended.
Joe Ragan, USA Judo newly appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors, was not only present but continued his tradition of competing at most Veterans events and this was no exception.
The tournament was well attended with close to 100 athletes mostly from the U.S., Puerto Rico, and other countries including Spain, Italy, and Algeria. There were male and female categories. There was also Kata exhibition. The tournament was run using Smoothcomp, a very efficient tournament software.
The newly adopted IJF categories were implemented during the tournament.
Those who attended witnessed tough matches and beautiful Judo. In the spirit of Veterans Judo, the tournament was followed by a BBQ party where athletes, referees, coaches and the public had an opportunity to gather and relax after the event.
All in all, it was a friendly, successful event. Hopefully, it will be the beginning of a series of events focused on Judo Veterans.
Deep appreciation to all the people that made this event possible including the Eastside Dojo staff, Directors, referees, athletes, coaches, and general public.
Again , here are some assorted photos taken at the event, enjoy!
February - 2023
5th Sunday - New Year's Annual Kohaku Shiai, San Fernando, CA
25th Saturday - Las Vegas Judo Championships, Henderson, NV
March - 2023
5th Sunday - Taishi's 13th Anniversary Tournament, Cerritos, CA
12th Sunday - Mojica Early Spring Tournament, Baldwin Park, CA
18th Saturday & 19th Sunday - Youth National Championships, Lubbock, TX
25th Saturday - Shoshinkan's Annual Kosen Tournament, Las Vegas, NV
26th Sunday - Shoshinkan's Shintaro Higashi Clinic, Las Vegas, NV
April - 2023
1st Saturday & 2nd Sunday - High School & Collegiate Nationals, San Jose, CA
15th Saturday - Couchigian Memorial Tournament, Las Vegas, NV
16th Sunday - Ryoku's Amarilis Savon Clinic, Las Vegas, NV
16th Sunday – Garden State Judo Classic, Wayne, NJ
22nd Saturday - Arizona State Championships, Tucson, AZ
29th Saturday & 30th Sunday - Golden State Open, Azusa, CA
May - 2023
7th Sunday - CJI State Championships, San Francisco, CA
13th Saturday - Nanka Spring Tournament, Westminster, CA
20th Saturday & 21st Sunday - Senior National Championships, Spokane, WA
June - 2023
4th Sunday - Nanka West Coast Invitational, Westminster, CA
16th Friday to 18th Sunday - USA Judo Junior Olympics, Shreveport, LA
24th Saturday - Sensei Gary's Birthday Scrimmage, Claremont, CA
25th Sunday - U,S, Adaptive Judo Championships, Riverside, CA
July - 2023
7th Friday to 9th Sunday - USJF & USJA Summer Nationals, New York, NY
16th Sunday - CA State Games, San Diego, CA
August - 2023
6th Sunday - Nikkei Games Budo Tournament, Cypress, CA
September - 2023
24th Sunday - Nanka Fall Tournament, Westminster, CA
October & November - 2023
1st Sunday - Capitol Open Judo Championships, Sacramento, CA
22nd Sunday - Fresno Invitational Tournament, Fresno, CA
29th Sunday - Fight for the Cure Women's Tournament & Clinic, Riverside, CA
31st Tuesday to 3rd Friday - IJF World Veterans Championships, Abu Dhabi, UAE
5th Sunday - Nanka Team Tournament, Westminster, CA
19th Sunday - National Presidents Cup Championships, Irving, TX
December - 2023
8th Friday to 10th Sunday - Grassroots Judo Winter Nationals & Clinics, Azusa, CA
I’m always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, thanks.