Judo Canada announces a partnership with Nanka Judo Yudanshakai, the organization that manages and organizes grassroots judo in Southern California, with the objective of providing optimal preparation for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics to athletes from both organizations.
The year 2028 may seem far away, but Nicolas Gill says he is not too far-sighted. In fact, he says he is more in catch-up mode.
“When you are a contact sport organization and that has lived through a pandemic, 2028 is not far at all,” says the CEO and High Performance Director of Judo Canada. “Around 400 clubs have been shut down for over a year and it is in the context of rebuilding and restarting that we are making this deal”
The two-time Olympic medallist is keen to prevent the next generation of athletes from being sacrificed, those who did not have the same accommodations as the top athletes preparing for the Tokyo Games. The inability to participate in competitions and sometimes even simply to train are factors that may have pushed some promising judokas towards the exit door.
“These athletes are currently between 16 and 20 years old and have suffered tremendously from the restrictions surrounding COVID-19. The starting point of this agreement is the need to support as best we can this generation of athletes with the obvious objective of bringing as many as possible to the 2028 Games. We hope that we will stimulate this age group by creating higher level opportunities for them.”
“With the 2028 Olympics six years away and being held in our backyard, Nanka Judo recognizes a need to create grassroots initiatives that will help our young judo athletes as they progress towards potentially competing in those Olympic Games.” said Keith Chu, President of Nanka Judo Yudanshakai. “Cooperation and grassroots coordination with Judo Canada will serve as a focus for us to provide opportunities that can mutually benefit both Southern Californian and Canadian judokas. We are very excited to get started working with Nicolas and his team.”
Judo Canada and Nanka Judo have the common objective of developing judokas who will participate in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028. Young Canadian and Californian judokas will notably be able to take part in camps organized jointly by the two organizations in California and at the Montreal National Training Centre.
“In a sport like judo, the quality of the training partners is paramount. Canada and the United States don’t have huge pools of athletes, so we need to optimize our choices, be creative, and look for solutions everywhere. This project is one of several initiatives.”
The partnership between Judo Canada and Nanka Judo will go beyond top-level sport by training law enforcement officials, a subject close to the hearts of both organizations. It will naturally include, training camps, technical clinics, collaborations in the preparation of athletes and during their competitions, as well as joint support in the final phase leading to the 2028 Games.
“For each partnership, it has to be a win-win. We will be mutually very happy if a Canadian and a Californian who have been part of this project meet at the Los Angeles Games,” concluded the medallist from the Barcelona and Sydney Games.