There is much more to judo than just the Olympic Games and World Championships, French judoka Loïc Pietri believes ahead of this weekend's International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam event in Paris.
Pietri, gold medallist in the under 81 kilograms category at the 2013 World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, the host city of next year’s Olympics, is currently recovering from injury and will make his television debut for French channel L’Equipe 21 during the Grand Slam competition, due to take place o Saturday and Sunday (October 17 and 18).
The 25-year-old, a silver medallist at this year’s IJF World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, also called on National Federations to develop a mobile application which he feels will help maintain strong participation levels among young judokas both at home and abroad.
“Judo is not just about the Olympic Games and World Championships,” Pietri said.
“It would be a good idea if there were applications developed by National Federations that would allow young judoka to track their development through the ages.
“For example, if a young kid in France has an app that allows him to see that he is the 16th in his age group in the country he would be more motivated to stay within the structures of the sport rather than giving up due to lack of motivating factors.”
The Frenchman added that he is looking forward to making his first television appearance, describing it as an “exciting challenge” as he continues with his recuperation ahead of the remainder of this year’s World Judo Tour.
“Maybe I will be able to conduct interviews in French, English and Portuguese at the Paris Grand Slam,” he said.
Pietri, part of the Golden Podium Jury which judged the best sporting video of 2015 entries at the SPORTEL Awards, also says he is relishing his position as a role model for the sport, which has held demonstrations on the opening day of the conference here, attended by IJF President Marius Vizer.
“It is essential that I have contact with people who are practicing judo as these conversations help me in my development as a judoka.
"If I don’t keep an ear to the ground and listen to what people have to say, then I cannot offer any point of view on the sport.”
The Grand Slam series moves to Abu Dhabi on October 30 until November 1, the build-up to which has been dominated by the Israeli team initially being denied visas to compete before the situation was rectified by world judo's governing body, following the event in Paris.
The World Judo Tour includes the World Championships, one Masters, five Grand Slams and 10 Grand Prix events annually.
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