As part of Japan’s preparation for to host the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, they are spreading out their support to various sports that will be competing at this Games.
Under their programme “Sports For Tomorrow, leading to 2020,” the Japanese government is selecting two sports from each country to assist in their development for the Tokyo Games.
Two sports identified for Papua New Guinea (PNG) is Judo and Swimming. While swimming is a popular sport in the Olympics and is gaining more interest in PNG, Judo is one that is still developing in the country.
To assist in raising the level of Judo in PNG, the Japanese government has assisted by supplying the PNG Judo Federation with training equipment as well as experts to assist in the training.
The equipment included 100 Judo uniforms which will be used by the Judo clubs for training and local competition, while the expertise came from five Judo masters who arrived in PNG on September 18th and will be in the country until September 28th to conduct training camps and seminars for the sport.
The Judo masters are Shinichiro Sato of Takusyoku (7th Dan), Tomohiko Ichimaru of Kanagawa prefectural police (6th Dan), Kouji Kakamu of Aichi Prefectural Police (6th Dan), Hiroyoku Miyake of Hiroshima Prefectural police (4th Dan) and Yuuki Kubota of Kantogak uen University (4th Dan).
They conducted the first part of their programme at the Don Bosco Technological Institute in Port Moresby from 21st to 22nd September and they will be travelling to Goroka on September 23rd to conduct similar workshops until September 27th.
The Judo experts will also make an assessment on the status of sport, its facilities, training and technical knowledge and report back to their government when they return to Japan for the possibility of future assistance.
Jambert and the visiting experts also met with the PNG Olympic Committee and the PNG Sports Foundation to discuss their programme and gain support.
Both organizations expressed their support and welcomed the programme.
Before becoming an Olympic sport, Judo is a traditional martial art from Japan that has developed as a sport over the years. Being originally from Japan, it is one of the priority sports that the country would like to see developed into a highly competitive sport come 2020.
President of PNG Judo Federation, John Jambert said Judo is a wonderful sport that has a potential to grow in PNG and be incorporated into other school and community programmes in the country.
Judo, meaning ‘Gentle Way,’ focuses on holds and throws, grappling and wrestling and does not allow striking in its competition rules.
PNG Judo has produced one Olympian already through Raymond Ovinou who competed in the London Games in 2012.
“Raymond was the first Olympian for Judo in PNG and through assistance programmes like this one from Japan, we hope to produce more international Judo athletes for Tokyo 2020 and beyond,” Jambert said.
He thanked Japan for their assistance and encouraged Judo athletes to train heard and learn as much as they can from these masters.
Those interested to attend Judo classes in Port Moresby can go to DBTI on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm – 6pm and on Saturdays from 9am – 12pm.
Classes for Goroka will be made available once a coach is confirmed.