What can be the consequences of the Russian invasion in Ukraine for judo? After Russian forces began attacking its neighbor Ukraine, the long-feared invasion jolted markets, sent energy prices higher, and prompted promises of a new round of consequences on Russia.
This year in May the Grand Slam in Kazan is scheduled to be held in Russia. The week before the European Cup in Orenburg will be held in a country that is in a state of war. Within a month international cadets U18 years are scheduled to fight at the European Cup in Tula. Last two events are organized by the EJU.
It is interesting what the world of judo will decide. The friendly relation with Russian leaders within the IJF can be felt everywhere. Sponsors are Russian, events are held in Russia, Board members and advisors are Russian, money comes directly from Russia and the vice President of the IJF, Sergey Soloveychik is also President of the European Judo Union.
The invasion of Russia into Ukraine is an embarrassing situation for the leaders of the EJU and IJF dealing in a world wide sport where solidarity is the theme of last year’s World Judo Day.
Vladimir Putin who is an honorary member of the International Judo Federation brings both leaders in problems. First of all because some of the main events should be taken from the calendar.
Ukraine organized European Cups for cadets and juniors until 2013, the events were cancelled since 2014 when Russia usurped Crimea. Luckily some major international judo stars in Ukraine kept the morale high for Ukrainian judo.
Concerns that Russia’s invasion will prompt a crisis in many fields including in sport, which is a worry for both IJF and EJU.
President Vladimir Putin ignored months of intensifying warnings by President Joe Biden and other western leaders that Moscow would face “swift and severe costs” if Russia invaded Ukraine.
The last former European Cup for junior in Kiev attracted 23 different countries. Since 2013 it is not organized anymore. Even in the time of Corona the Grand Slam of Kazan attracted athletes from 79 nations last year. The European Cup in Orenburg had 14 different participating nations.
Now, as the Kremlin reaches into Ukraine, Putin’s policy seems likely to come with a price, for our sport as well. We wonder if the IJF will consider a solidarity statement and cancel the forthcoming events. For sure then EJU will follow quickly. IJF has it’s active judo for peace organisation, a door opener to world peace.
Possible cancellation of the Grand Slam of Kazan will mean a second gap in the calendar of the IJF as recently the Grand Slam of Düsseldorf scheduled in June was taken out due to financial problems.