The Croatian Judo Federation's project was recognised by the IOC ©IJF

The Croatian Judo Federation’s (CJF) “judo in schools” project has received International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognition for Sport and Innovation.

Implemented in a total of 150 schools, the initiative saw the sport practiced as a regular and after school activity.

The project used judo as an educational method, and was designed to improve both the participants’ abilities and self-confidence, while also helping them acquire greater self-control on and off the mat.

Additionally, key lifestyle areas such as boosting the children’s concentration, adopting ethical principles and using the sport to prevent bullying at school or on the streets were a strong part of the project’s aims.

The children taking part completed favourable satisfaction surveys and the CJF have shown a desire to continue to run the project.

They claim the results they have seen to date “substantially offset” the falling numbers of children taking part in sporting activities in schools.

The project, which was first established in 2013 and is supported by Croatia’s Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, has seen the numbers of young people taking part in judo rise.

The project has enabled two Croatia School Championships to be held
The project has enabled two Croatia School Championships to be held ©IJF

Along with an increase in standards, the growth of judo has allowed the Croatian School Sports Federation to stage two editions of their School Championships, in collaboration with the CJF.

While furthering the sporting education of young generations of society, the project also seeks to acknowledge the role that school teachers, volunteers and coaches play in developing the sport throughout the country.

The IOC recognition for the programme follows soon after the International Judo Federation received a Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award for a project which is aimed at bringing judo to children in the Kilis refugee camp in Turkey, which is located on the border with Syria.