The Academy promotes education and participation in the sport ©IJF

The International Judo Federation's (IJF) Academy has been officially recognised as an Autonomous Higher Education Institute by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education of Malta.

The Academy was founded in 2013 in association with IJF President, Marius Vizer, and with this recognition, the IJF is the first International Federation to have its Academy internationally certified.

IJF Academy director, Envic Galea, praised the move.

"With today's recognition, we are entering into a new era, where the Academy will continue to develop and grow at a very fast pace," he said.

"The Academy has opened its doors to coaches of all level.

"Some of them have dedicated their lives to teaching children or preparing judoka for high performance competition.

"Others were successful athletes who, after they retired, decided to give back to the sport they so much love and started to dedicate to coaching or refereeing."

The Academy has worked with more than 2,000 students from more than 100 countries in level one and level two training courses.

Participants of the Academy undertake level one and level two training courses ©IJF
Participants of the Academy undertake level one and level two training courses ©IJF

Dr Tibor Kozsla, education director of the Academy, also explained the new modern training methods.

He said: "We have designed an online easy accessible multilingual platform and we are working hand in hand with our students.

"We know that they are all busy people, taking care of their families and working hard, so we want to facilitate their learning process as much as possible."

Olympic and world champions were also in attendance for the ceremony, including 1991 world champion and IJF and Academy sport director, Daniel Lascau.

The Romanian recognised the support of athletes and volunteers in the sport.

"We never had an IJF Academy session with so many international medallists," he said.

"But the beauty of our institution is that we also have people who are judo teachers or referees and who dedicated their lives to the development of our sport from grassroots level to high level performance.

"The IJF Academy is the teaching arm and executive part of the IJF on the mat."