Mr Armen Bagdasarov, IJF Head Referee Director explained what makes it different to referee the veterans event, compared to the World Judo Tour events, “When we see veterans compete, it is phenomenal, a totally different judo. The athletes respect every single decision of the referees. There has not been one complaint so far. Sometimes there were even cases when after defeating their opponent, they were sorry about it. We hope younger generations can really learn from our veterans, to respect each other and the opportunities judo brings, more.
From a technical point of view, the judo is a little bit slower but still beautiful. They play without complex tactics and this makes them aim only for throws.
What also makes veterans different is the support and unity. These are judoka who have known each other for a very long time; they are friends off the tatami and opponents on the mat.”
Bekzat Manasbayev (KAZ), M1 gold medallist at -81kg, said, “I have been competing my whole life and this gold medal is not the end. I am preparing for the big veterans competition that will be held next year in Japan. I missed the tatami a lot and I send my gratitude to the IJF for giving me an opportunity to be back!”
The bronze medallist in the M1 -66kg category, Hakson Andrade (BRA), confirmed Bekzat Manasbayev's opinion, “I am happy to be back; it feels wonderful to be on the tatami again. I’ve travelled all the way from Brazil and it feels great!”
Another champion in the M1 age band, Igor Dzierzanowski, -100kg from Poland, was very excited before going to the podium, “I've been practising judo since I was a child. It is an honour for me to be here. I fought today with a little injury but I am still full of energy! Thank you for this opportunity.”
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