The IJF Congress was held at the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation in Astana ©IJF

Four new members have been appointed to the International Judo Federation (IJF) Executive Committee at their Congress held here today, where the body's President Marius Vizer reiterated his commitment to developing the sport worldwide.

Vizer opened the Congress by paying tribute to Kazakhstan officials for their work in staging both the Congress and this year’s World Championships, while he also thanked his colleagues for their support following his resignation as SportAccord President in May.

It followed a controversial speech he delivered at SportAccord Convention in April, in which he criticised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

“I was the President of SportAccord and Judo, being a special sport, where you have the courage to say the truth," said Vizer.

"I tried to say the truth about the future of all sports in the world, unfortunately people were not prepared.

“I have decided to come back to the sport of judo and develop our sport around the world.

“I would like to thank all the people who have supported me, especially through the difficult moments.”

As part of the ambition to continue the development of judo, the IJF President proposed the appointment of four new members of the Executive Committee, who were accepted by acclamation by the Congress, which saw 191 of the 193 present hold voting rights.

Switzerland's Rene Jaggi was one of four new appointments to the Executive Committee
Switzerland's Rene Jaggi was one of four new appointments to the Executive Committee ©IJF

The desire for the new additions was in part due to the increased demands on the current Executive Committee due to the sport’s growth, but the appointment of Japan’s Haruki Uemura and Yasuhiro Yamashita was also viewed as important in recognising judo’s traditions, owning to the sport being founded by their countryman Jigoro Kano.

Additionally their importance ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was also empathised, in particular their potential to help team judo to be added as an additional discipline onto the Games programme.

Uemura is set to take up the role as the IJF promotion director, while Yamashita, currently vice-president of the All Japan Judo Federation, will become one of two new development directors, who will aim to keep the sport growing in countries around the world.

Zhou Yiqiang was confirmed as the second man to take up the post of a development director, with Vizer hopeful that the presence of the Chinese Judo Association President on the Executive Committee will help to boost the sport in that country. 

The final appointment to the Executive Committee was the former chief executive of sporting goods giant Adidas, Rene Jaggi of Switzerland, who has taken up the position of marketing director.

Following the ratification of the new members, as expected, the re-election of France's Jean-Luc Rouge and the United Arab Emirates' Naser Al-Tamimi in their respective roles as general secretary and treasurer were confirmed, with both men running unopposed.

Jean-Luc Rogue (left) and Naser Al-Tamini (right) were re-elected unopposed as General Secretary and General Treasurer respectively
Jean-Luc Rogue (left) and Naser Al-Tamini (right) were re-elected unopposed as General Secretary and General Treasurer respectively ©IJF

Vizer also announced that following an Extraordinary Congress of the Pan American Judo Confederation (PJC) in Miami, the President Paulo Wanderley of Brazil lost a vote 18-1, regarding whether he would remain in his position.

The Extraordinary Congress had been called after Wanderley has lost support of his members, causing two rival PJC Congresses to be arranged on the same day but at different locations, causing the IJF to intervene and cancel both events. 

As a consequence of Wanderley's dismissal, the IJF have set up a provisional team to lead the PJC until a presidential election can be held, which is currently anticipated to be in November.

In his Presidential report, Vizer spoke glowingly about the development of the IJF World Tour, which has grown to 19 events throughout the year, while he also described the 2014 World Championships in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk as "one of the best organised events in history", with it showcasing the sport in a positive light.

It was revealed that the 2015 World Championships would see the debut of the IJF's new Care system, providing officials with the opportunity to rewind and zoom in closely on action through television screens.

The new software is hoped at improving the standard of officiating at judo competitions and will become part of IJF events immeditately after competition concludes in Astana.

The Congress was brought to a close by the awarding of distinction awards to France's Michel Brousse, the author of a new IJF Judo anthology, the IJF's head of computing Matthias Fischer of Germany and Nicolas Messener, the IJF media director and head director of Judo for Peace, with each presented with an IJF Gold Plaque.

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August 2015:
 Al-Tamimi and Rouge set to be re-elected as treasurer and general secretary of International Judo Federation
August 2015: Final preparations underway in Astana ahead of 2015 IJF World Championships
September 2013: Astana awarded 2015 World Judo Championships