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The Sport Information Resource Centre

Montréal, October 6, 2022 – Judo is a global sport that is practiced in more than 200 countries. The introduction of the Judo4All program in Canada this fall will facilitate access to the sport for a specific segment of the country’s population: new immigrants.

Judo4All will be implemented in approximately fifteen clubs across Canada. These clubs will promote the program via collaborations with community organizations serving newcomers to the country.

“We targeted clubs that have coaches with immigrant backgrounds, who will serve as guides for the young participants,” explained Nicolas Gill, Chief Executive Officer and High Performance Director at Judo Canada. “This is the biggest participatory development program in (Canada’s) judo history,” he added proudly.

The project was made possible through funding from the Government of Canada’s Community Sport for All Initiative sport support program, which “seeks to remove barriers and increase sport participation rates for underrepresented groups.”

One of the participating organizations is the Higashi Canada club in Toronto. Although the 50-member club has only been in existence for a year, its managers quickly jumped on board, said Annaliese Heissler, Director of Administration and Communications at Higashi Canada.

“We were all very excited (when the program was announced). We’d like to see the sport of judo grow, and we’d like to see more people—particularly members of less-privileged population groups—provided with the chance to practice it. These people have a harder time accessing certain things, so making sport more accessible is a very motivating endeavour.”

The Higashi Canada club is run by two senseis from Brazil. Heissler believes the senseis will maximize the impact of the new national initiative in their community, where 25 young people are expected to take part in the program as of next month.

“The senseis themselves are immigrants who now have permanent resident status, so they’re familiar with the challenges faced by newcomers to the country.”

The program is also timely, she says, given the high inflation rates in Canada over the past few months. Judo4All will help alleviate this concern, as participants will receive one year of free coaching from their club, as well as a free judogi.

“These types of activities, which are so important for young people, are at risk of being put on hold due to the cost. Judo is about improving oneself and one’s community, so giving back is part of its essence. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s more joy than work,” laughed Heissler. “It’s a privilege to be able to offer it!”

The logo of the Judo4All program was inspired by the 1992 Canada Cup logo, designed by Cosimo Cavallero. The interlocking hands featuring the colours of the Olympic rings represent the theme of inclusion that will be highlighted on World Judo Day on October 28.

“This type of project is important to me because I’ve always believed that Judo Canada needs to be more engaged with judo clubs—and in more creative ways—and that our role goes beyond simply developing high-level athletes. We can play a greater role in developing the sport,” concluded Gill.

Canadian Clubs Participating in the Judo4All Program

Abbotsford Judo ClubBritish ColumbiaAbbotsford
Prince George Judo ClubBritish ColumbiaPrince George
Inner City Judo ClubManitobaWinnipeg
Otoshi Judo ClubNew BrunswickMoncton
Numa Performance JudoNova ScotiaHalifax
Spryfield Judo KaiNova ScotiaHalifax
Taifu Judo ClubOntarioToronto
Higashi CanadaOntarioToronto

Tsuyoi Judo ClubPrince Edward Island Gravity Judo ClubPrince Edward Island Rikidokan Judo ClubPrince Edward Island Toshidokan Judo ClubPrince Edward Island Dojo de BeauportQuebecBeauportClub de Judo KisekiQuebecMontréalClub de Judo MétropolitainQuebecMontréalClub de Judo HibagonQuebecMontréalIppon Sports Centre MontrealQuebecMontréal.

For more information:

Patrick Esparbès
Chief Operating Officer
Judo Canada
(514) 668-6279