EJU Congress and Gala Dinner recognises two British judo legends in 50th Olympic year

The European Judo Union (EJU) held its annual congress in Zagreb, Croatia and British Judo Association President George Kerr, CBE, Chairman Kerrith Brown and Chief Executive Andrew Scoular, were among special guests.

The 66th Ordinary Congress was followed by a magnificent gala dinner at the Westin International hotel in Zagreb that celebrated the 50th anniversary of judo as an Olympic sport.

Judo was first included as a sport in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964 – where Dutchman Anton Geesink became the first European to seize gold.

Olympic medallists, along with those who have worked closely in EJU commissions and projects were given special awards by Marius Vizer, Sergey Soloveychik and Zlatko Matesa (President of Croatian Olympic Committee).

Kerrith Brown, who won a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles was pleased to be recognised as one of the seven Olympians to receive the award. “The EJU congress went really well and it marked the 50th anniversary of the Olympic year,” said Kerrith.

“It was an honor to be recognised at the congress along with George Kerr. The gala dinner was really impressive.”

George Kerr, 10th Dan won gold at the European Judo Championships in Rotterdam in 1957, a few years before judo was introduced as a test sport at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964.

To mark his services to judo, Kerr received a badge of honour at the gala dinner. He is the only living 10th Dan in Britain.  The late Charles Palmer, Anton Geesink and the founding father of Judo Professor Jigoro Kano are among others to hold this honour. 

and has been inaugurated to both the IJF and Scottish Sports Halls of Fame.

He was awarded the Japanese equivalent to the CBE, known as the Order of the Rising Sun.

During the event, Patrick Hickey, EJU Honorary member and president of the European Olympic Committee, Marius Vizer, president of the International Judo Federation and president of SportAccord,  EJU Vice-President Michael Vachun and President of the EJU Sergey Soloveychiky all spoke about the Olympic legacy and what the event means for judo.

He said: “The gala dinner was a fantastic showcase event and everything went really smoothly. It was great to meet with old friends and recall some of the memories of the Olympics when Anton Geesnik won gold.”

Chief Executive Andrew Scoular made a presentation at the event to introduce the European Championships in Glasgow to the European delegation, who expressed great interest in the event.

Words by Donna Richardson.

Special award winners include:

Annett Böhm (EJU Media Team): Athens 2004 bronze

Alexander Jatskevitch (EJU Sports Director responsible for OTC project and Coaches commission, EJU Experts Commission): Moscow 1980 bronze

Nuno Delgado (EJU Didactic commission): Sydney 2000 bronze

Kerrith Brown (Chairman of the British Judo Association): Los Angeles 1984 bronze

Ezio Gamba (EJU President’s Advisory board, EJU Experts Commission): Moscow 1980 gold, Los Angeles 1984 silver

Ben Spijkers (an international referee, EJU Experts Commission): Seoul 1988 bronze Vsevolods Zelonijs (General Secretary of Latvian Judo Federation, EJU Education Commission) Sydney 2000 bronze.

Photos of the gala dinner can be found here: www.eju.net/media/?mode=showEvent&id=1895