The Embassy of Japan has promised to continue supporting judo in Malawi to take the sport to the next level.
Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Satoshi Iwakiri made the remarks during the Japanese Ambassador’s 7th Judo Championship at African Bible College (ABC) Blue Gym in Lilongwe on Saturday.
“Judo is not just a martial art but, indeed, a sport for peace. Its underlying philosophy is mutual prosperity between oneself and others. Judo contributes not only to physical strength but also self-discipline and, most importantly, to development of respect for one’s opponent.
“It is my hope that through this championship, more people will be encouraged to start Judo and ultimately the development will lead to youth empowerment, promotion of health and building a peaceful society with mutual understanding and spirit of friendship,” he said.
Iwakiri said some volunteers from Japan will continue to train local judo athletes as they prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games in France.
Minister of Youth and Sports Richard Chimwendo Banda said he was impressed with talent on display during the championship.
“I am very happy that Japan is supporting our athletes to showcase their skills. It is my hope that the athletes will also perform well during the Region 5 Games next month,” Chimwendo Banda said.
Malawi National Council of Sports Administration Manager Henry Mereka said the championship came at a right time as Malawi is expected to host Region 5 Games.
“We have hopes from Judo athletes that they will get medals during the games. Majority of the athletes who participated in the championship will also represent Malawi next month,’’ Mereka said.
Judo Association of Malawi General Secretary Osbourne Banda was also optimistic that the athletes will shine during the Region 5 Youth Games.
The athletes were drawn from across the country including from Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Blantyre, Thyolo and Dzaleka Refugee Camp.
At the end of the event, the athletes received certificates.