November 28, 2018
Name: Ryoma Kudo
Technical Field: Judo
Recipient Organization: Judo Association in Malawi, Lilongwe
One of the exciting moments that I have encountered working as a volunteer judo coach in Malawi was to be able to patriciate with four Malawian Judo players in the World JUDO Championship Tournament at Baku in Azerbaijan from 20th to 27th September, 2018. During the tournament, I participated as a coach for the Malawian Judo National team. This is one of the prominent tournaments that I and our team were very proud to participate in. The excitement started from the time when we received national team uniforms of tournament on the day we departed for Baku.
Though we experienced the exciting feeling to participate in the tournament, preparation for participation had not been easy for us. This included late commencement of preparation, late communication from the authorities and the host organizations to confirm our participation. On the other hand, the number of judo uniforms which the Malawian team prepared are unqualified championships standard. This resulted in only players were allowed to participate, but coaches are not allowed to go near the playing field.
In the championship, it was quite sad to see all the players lost during their first matches. However, I do commend them for fighting well against the world's top-level players such as gold medalist of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. It was encouraging to note that one of the Malawian players almost won a match against one of the world's top players. As their coach, I really wished that I was at the match venue and able to give them advice.
In spite of the winless results of Malawian players at this World Championship, I am glad to note that after participating in this tournament, the players have changed in their mindset and attitude. They are now practicing based on the lessons they have leant in the matches with the world's top-level players.
Malawian National Team
Malawian National Team Players warming up at match venue
The entry gate that we went through going into the venue of the matches