Former world champion Daniel Laskau opened the new IJF training centre in Lusaka ©IJF

The vision of International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer came to pass with the opening of a new training centre in the Zambian capital Lusaka.

The long-term project, which marks a new chapter for the sport in the African country, was financed by the IJF which also supervised the construction of the new facility.

Vizer made a pledge when he visited the previous training centre in 2010 to support the development and creation of a new state-of-the-art facility for Zambian judo.

The training centre was officially opened by IJF sports director and former world champion Daniel Lascau, who was part of a delegation of experts who led an IJF Academy course to inaugurate the new venue.

The dojo was also supported financially by the Zambia Judo Association and the Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development through the Podium Performance Programme.

There is already a busy programme of events scheduled for the centre which will offer first-class facilities to the Zambian national team and will also host educational activities to develop the sport in the region and to attract more athletes.

Moses Mawere, Minister of Sport, Youth and Child Development, said: "It is indeed a great honour to stand before you to officially open the IJF Olympic Training Centre for Judo and at the same time to welcome the IJF Academy experts here for the third time.

IJF sports director and former world champion Daniel Lascau opens the new dojo in the Zambian capital of Lusaka ©IJF
IJF sports director and former world champion Daniel Lascau opens the new dojo in the Zambian capital of Lusaka ©IJF

"I am reliably informed that this is the first ever Centre for the International Judo Federation in the Southern African region.

"Let me therefore take this opportunity to thank both the IJF President Mr Marius Vizer, the course facilitators and course participants for your resilience and uncompromising zeal and dedication in ensuring that the course objectives are achieved within the set time frame."

Zambian National Olympic Committee President and Zambian Judo President Alfred Foloko added: "I look around and am in awe with the collected expertise gathered here.

"Firstly, the honourable Minister is here to officially open the third session of the IJF Academy practicals and secondly to officially open our International Olympic Training Centre for Judo.

"The course to be officially opened by the honorable Minister is an Olympic Solidarity supported course through our National Olympic Committee, the Zambia Judo Association and the IJF.

"This training is but the third among the many that shall be conducted in similar fashion in the near future.

"This goes to show how African leadership is ready to embrace change in the manner we address our technical matters in sport and judo in particular."