An initiative to make competitive judo for younger players and teenagers more fair – and fun – will be trialled from the beginning of the 2024 competitive season.
Judo Australia in conjunction with Judo ACT will premiere new age categories for Under 15 athletes in Australia at the upcoming Canberra International Open (February 16-18).
The new age groups align to other international sporting codes, and competitive judo in many European countries. Most importantly, they have been designed to create a fairer, more enjoyable experience for our younger members.
“Three-year age brackets can span big developmental differences, and at this stage in their judo careers, we want to ensure the experience at our tournaments is as enjoyable as possible,” explains Maria Pekli, Judo Australia’s general manager of Performance and Pathways.
“This is why we have chosen to realign into two year brackets. It’s fairer, and it’s more fun fighting people who are close in age, and size, and hopefully, skill set.”
The changes come after consultation with key stake holders, including JA's newly established Pathways Networking Group. Representatives of each state come together each month to explore the challenges and opportunities facing individuals, clubs as well as state organisations working to progress the sport of Judo in Australia.
“The Pathways group makes sure I am across the issues specific to each state, because they can be very different. There are so many barriers facing young judo athletes in Australia, but the start of it all is making sure competition is fun, and fair.”
FULL DETAILS OF THE NEW AGE DIVISIONS ARE CONTAINED IN THE BELOW DOCUMENT
Also under review are the divisions for Adaptive Judo. A new Advisory committee will inform a complete review in early 2024 to ensure Australia can align with international best practice.
For the Canberra International Open, we will align to the new age divisions and work with the coaches to assign athletes to an appropriate weight division, Ms Pekli said.
Beck Hamilton, CEO of Judo Australia, thanked the organisers of the Canberra International Open for being willing to facilitate such a major reform.
“I would like to thank Judo ACT for working with Judo Australia to enable this change, and we will continue to work with other states as we trial the age divisions for their various tournaments,” Ms Hamilton said.
All other Age Divisions (cadets and above) remain the same as per the Judo Australia Sporting Code.
Maria Pekli is available for questions until 20/12/2023 and will return in the new year. Contact: +61 425 350 700 or email@example.com