The project aims to develop the teaching of judo in schools ©IJF

The International Judo Federation (IJF) has said it is determined to press ahead with its SchoolJudo.EU project, despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SchoolJudo.EU project is aimed at developing a model of judo teaching to schools all over Europe.

The project has been supported by the Erasmus+ European Union funding stream.

It is hoped that the project will provide coaches with qualifications and training to be able to deliver programmes within schools all over the continent.

Italy, Slovenia and Hungary are set to be the first nations to roll out the project, with each facing different challenges amid the pandemic due to Government restrictions.

Grazia Valenzano, project coordinator for Italian Judo, told the IJF that the initiative is being slowly introduced due to the limited access to schools.

The IJF project is supported by funding from the Erasmus+  programme ©IJF
The IJF project is supported by funding from the Erasmus+ programme ©IJF

"It's fair to say that the project has to be implemented slowly," Valenzano said.

"The Ministry of Education has not given priority to sport in schools.

"At this time our children have only two hours provision per week, nationally and so there is a lot of catching up to do regarding physical education and then judo afterwards.

"It's exceptional to find a school that will prioritise sport and this is a barrier for us.

"Our Erasmus project is progressive and requires strong buy-in and so we have to approach every aspect carefully.

"Comparing the Italian situation to Slovenia, for example is impossible, their government is fully engaged."

The IJF says the project will help the social and emotional development of children, while introducing them to the values of the sport.

The governing body hopes the project will roll out in further countries, after its introduction in Italy, Hungary and Slovenia.