IBSA Judo Panam Encourage Development and Promotion — Hiro’s Judo Club Leading the Pack in Alberta

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During the Canadian Open Championships in Calgary this year, spectators will also have the chance to see visually impaired (VI) athletes in action as part of the 2018 IBSA Judo Pan-American Championships, presented on May 20, 2018. Such a combination has never been done before, and Hiro’s Judo Club decided to use the occasion to organize a “try-it” event in which adults and children, in separate groups, will learn basic judo concepts of manipulative body movements and unbalancing an opponent, as well as how to lose their fear of falling. A judo instructor will be there with a few assistants to help the aspiring athletes.

Judo is a perfect sport for VI people because it involves grappling, requiring the athletes to grip and hold contact with each other in order to perform the techniques. “Introducing a new sport to anyone gives me a great feeling of accomplishment,” explains Allan Sattin, Chief Instructor for Hiro’s Judo Club. “Judo is a popular sport everywhere in the world excepted in North America. Spreading the sport, especially to VI children and adults, is my goal. The Pan-American Championships will feature athletes, coaches and officials from the Americas. Imagine the experience of VI athletes travelling such distances to compete together… It will be an event to remember.” Athletes who want to continue after the clinic can integrate Hiro’s regular program. If there is enough demand, a separate group can be set up to accommodate them.

The project also aligns with Judo’s Canada effort to develop more programs for VI athletes. A few months ago, a new in-school program was implemented in Jacques-Ouellette school, in Montreal, that offers services for visually impaired students. Hopefully, more programs like it can take shape, and Canada can become a force to be reckoned with on an international level. “Hiro’s is a big club and they have large infrastructure, that’s why we think they were the perfect choice for the ‘try-it’ event. If everything goes according to plan, we’re hoping that these first few steps will encourage more teams to implement VI programs and welcome them in their ranks,” says Andrzej Sadej, Sport Director for Judo Canada. “Last year, at the IBSA Pan-Am Championship in Brazil, there were 40 athletes competing. This year in Calgary, we’ll have 52 athletes from 7 countries. The VI Judo movement is getting bigger in America, and we want Canada to follow suit.”

“Try-it” event schedule:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Children’s class (8+): 6:30-7:30 pm
Adults’ class (18+): 7:30-8:30 pm

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Children’s class (8+): 6:30-7:30 pm
Adults’ class (18+): 7:30-8:30 pm


Written by Sarah Mailhot for Judo Canada

Patrick Esparbès
Chief Operating Officer
(514) 668-6279
[email protected]


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