The British Judo Association (BJA) would like to congratulate the current President of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Marius L. Vizer on becoming the new SportAccord chief.
Vizer defeated Bernard Lapasset, Chairman of the International Rugby Board (IRB) in St Petersburg in an election where he gained 52 votes against 37 to become President of SportAccord.
SportAccord is the umbrella organisation for all Olympic and non-Olympic international sport federations as well as organisers of multi-sport games and sport-related international associations. SportAccord has 91 full members and 16 associate members who all voted for in the elections at the end of the week-long convention in St Petersburg.
Since 2007 and the election of Vizer as head of the IJF, Judo has profoundly changed from a sport that was considered marginal to become a major player in the Olympic family.
Earlier this week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) placed judo higher up the pecking order to receive Olympic Revenues. Judo has now entered the third group, rising from the bottom, guaranteeing the IJF more funding to develop the sport.
Vizer’s achievements in post include developing a thriving World Judo tour (the IJF used to organise a world championship every second year but now is in charge of 20 major events a year), cementing the sport’s place as an integral sport at the Olympics and initiating rule changes to make the sport more appealing to a wider audience.
Before leading the IJF, Vizer was a judoka, educator, coach and then President of national and continental judo asociations.
Commenting on his latest appointment, Vizer said: “It is a well-known fact that my life has been dedicated to Judo and sports in general and this shall remain unchanged: I am ready to put my time and energy to the service of development and progress of all sports.
“By combining Judo with SportAccord activities, I consider that we can bring more values in both organisations.”
Chairman of the BJA Kerrith Brown said: “This is a fantastic achievement. He was the best candidate by far in terms of his commitment and on behalf of the BJA we would like to say congratulations.
He has done a lot for the sport and has really raised the profile of Judo. To have such a distinguished judoka as the president of SportAccord can only help to increase our sport’s presence on the world stage. Together with the announcement that Judo has been reclassified by the IOC, pushing judo forward in the grouping of Olympic sports, it has been a very good week for Judo overall. It goes to show just how much work Marius has done in the name of Judo.”
Photo courtesy of IJF