… outshine competitors at Jita-Kyoei International Judo Tournament

YK Poudel

Bhutan Jita-Kyoei International Judo Tournament, held at Pelkhil Dojo witnessed 22 participants from four countries.

Bhutanese judokas grabbed 2 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze at the four-day Jita-Kyoei International Judo Tournament at Pelkhil Dojo that ended on February 14.

Eight local judokas competed against 14 participants, aged between 15 and 19 years, from Bangladesh, (West Bengal) India and Nepal in eight categories—four male and four female categories.

The training before the tournament included seminars and practical sessions on judo values, techniques (randori), referee coaching and injury rehabilitation.

For the first time, a mixed group tournament was also organised among four teams to promote mutual respect, friendship and excellence.

National Judo Coach of Bhutan, Yuki Fukui, said that each of the training sessions was given by internationally certified teachers (Sensei). “The sessions were decided based on its significance for judokas—to uplift the standard of youth judo in the region as well as promote judo values.”

“Judokas must be self-disciplined, and respect the opponent with an intention of mutual prosperity. Bhutanese judokas could perform better compared to the first Jita-Kyoei tournament,” he said.

Judo, he said, although new in Bhutan, has gained around 200 members with considerable achievements over time.

Yeshey Nidup, 18, a judoka from Bhutan won gold in the under 66kg category. He said that personal growth and exposure have made him a better judoka.

“In my 10 years into this journey, I have won 3 gold medals for Bhutan so far—it gives me immense joy to represent Bhutan in the international stages,” he said.

“For judokas, physical training is an everyday discipline. The rooted value is respect for others and the principle of mutual development that builds friendship among the participants,” he said.

Yeshey is also a scholarship recipient at Pelkhil through the judo programme.

Pemba Dorgi Sherpa, 19, a judoka from Nepal bagged the silver medal in +60kg category. He said that he has been a judoka since 2016 and this is his first international tournament outside the country.

“I am happy that out of five of us, we won 3 gold and 2 silver medals. We undergo regular 2 hours of training for it is our regular discipline,” he said.

The General Secretary of Bangladesh Judo Federation, Kamrun Nahar Hiru, said that strong fundamentals are essential for any achievement.

“Bhutanese judokas are known for their keenness and fast learning abilities. By focusing their training on these specific techniques, they can distinguish themselves in tournaments,” she said.

“Being a judoka and a champion myself, doing every ordinary session seriously and doing it well is crucial. The motive should be to improve and do better,” she said.

According to her, two players from Bangladesh participated winning a gold and a silver. Moreover, she expressed gratitude to the Bhutan Judo Association for the support and praised the association for the it has made within a short time.

The first edition of the “Jita-Kyoei Judo Cup” was held on March 26 last year.

Bhutan started judo in 2011 and became a member of IJF in 2016.

The international tournament was organised by BJA supported by Kodokan, India-Bhutan Foundation, Curtin University and Bhutan Olympic Committee, among others.