The Puerto Rican Judo Federation (Fepurjudo) has a full agenda for the new year that is just around the corner.
The president of Fepurjudo, Luis Martínez, set several objectives in search of the greater growth of the sport on the Island.
“First, we want to reorganize the calendar because due to the pandemic we have been a little behind. There are some clubs that have closed and we want to open them again with the support of the mayors and the Department of Recreation and Sports (DRD) to have a greater participation ”, said Martínez to THE SPOKESMAN.
He argued that before the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Fepurjudo had “between 22 to 24 clubs” throughout Puerto Rico.
However, many were affected, forcing its closure, such as the Vieques, Arroyo, Guayama, Añasco, Cabo Rojo, Bayamón and Barceloneta clubs.
“They were clubs that had a lot of judo enrollment, but most of them were affected in one way or another. We are trying to reopen them and there are some that have started their reopening little by little, and we hope that by 2022 many of these clubs will reopen ”, commented Martínez, whose federative body requires all participants to provide evidence of the vaccine against covid- 19 or weekly negative test.
Looking ahead to 2022, Fepurjudo also has a priority to continue providing support to its high-performance athletes —María Pérez, Adrián Gandía and Luis Jabdiel Pérez— and to promote the participation of youth judokas to identify new talent towards the new Olympic cycle.
Martínez indicated that some of the athletes identified are Sairy Colón, Francine Echevarría, Nahiara Feliciano, Darrick García, Alejandro Gandía, Ettelimay Ramos and Francisco Rodríguez, among others.
In addition, it is on the agenda to offer training workshops to coaches and referees, identify young people to develop in conducting judo events, and resume the sport of judo at the school level.
“We want to bring judo back to schools. That was a program that ran from 2013 to 2016 and then fell. If the covid allows us, we are trying to shape the program to be able to reach public schools with trainers and train physical education teachers, ”said Martínez.
Other priorities are working with adapted judo, the Interuniversity Athletic League (LAI) and the municipalities, to create alliances and open new clubs around the island.
Finally, Fepurjudo will seek financial help from private companies to continue promoting the sport.
“We know that it is not a profitable sport in terms of exposure. But it is a beautiful sport and if we knock on the doors, it will be well received. We are going to start small, ”said Martínez, who was elected this year and has a three-year term, until 2024.