From 9-14 February 2023 the Winter Judo Camp was held in Serbia, Kragujevac, Ravni Gaj,  hosted by the partners from Makikomi judo club where participants from all project partners countries attended, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. The partners from Judo club Drim Struga, Poraka Nova, Makikomi and Asociatia Judeteana de Judo Mehedinti, joined with their teams (14 participants per partners, from which 3 were people with intellectual disabilities).

Counting +40 participants the winter camp was divided in 2 parts, regular judo training sessions and workshops for inclusive judo. The training judo sessions were delivered by experiences judo coaches from Macedonia, Serbia and Romania:

  1. Gjorgjija Stojanov JK Drim Struga
  2. Slavisha Pejcic JK Makikomi Beograd
  3. Predrag Jojic JK Makikomi Beograd
  4. Filip Zivojinovic JK Makikomi Beograd
  5. Dragana Vukmirovic JK Makikomi Beograd
  6. Gicu Vasilan JK Mahidinti Drobeta Turnu Severin
  7. Lena Sterea JK Mahidinti Drobeta Turnu Severin
  8. Marjana Goloubovic- reeducator psychomotor skills

The Judo trainings from the day one were intensive. Two per day. Sometimes it was very difficult, but every participant did their best to exercise and be part of the team. That did not exclude the PwID. They also attended two times per day, even though it was mentioned to them that is enough ones per day. They were excited to be part of the team. They were happy that everyone was accepting them as a whole and wanted to cherish that moments. They didn’t want to miss a thing. They were present at the Judo trainings. And they were present at the workshops. Contributing equally. And that was the point of the whole event. Without pressure anyone to feel like they could do anything. And they did.  

The experience behind the trainings is best described from one of the participants statement, Daniel Sihkoski , who shared his impressions: If I had to single out something that left the most impression on me at the judo camp, it is undoubtedly the coach Predrag Jojić, who, if I ask myself, should be given the title of best coach above coaches right away. Why? Because he did not see us persons with disabilities as special, but as equal participants of the camp who can learn and do everything, even more than everyone else can. He worked with us without any stereotypes and condemnation, but with understanding and desire to help you. He understood when you told him that you didn’t know or didn’t know something, but even then he didn’t let me give up, but helped you learn together with him.

In between the judo training, we manage quickly to motivate all young people, little ones, teenagers and youths with intellectual disabilities to take part in the inclusive workshops.
They were scared because it was their first time being in inclusive workshops for most of them and thought it would be school-like. We were scared because of the number of participants and the different target groups, but we all combined our fears and created unforgettable memories.
On the last day, the goodbyes were accompanied by the chants, quotes, part of conclusions, music and rhythms that were part of the workshops on the very first day, and then you know the impact was deeper than was planned.

6 rich days are left behind us filled to the fullest with activities, interactive discussions, playing games, singing songs, working in groups, and creative program. The session plans were customized according to the target groups and needs of the participants so that everyone was motivated to take active participation in the whole inclusive process.
Taking control over the group of teenagers sometimes was challenging but the pace was reached when the point of the certain activity was achieved, making them thinks and share a life-experience story.

To be honest, with the little ones was easier because all I have to do was to create a game. Of course, the games were interactive and inclusive which made them think and discuss a certain topic. Sometimes you would think it would be harder, but the little sages very fast could get to the point and understand the whole situation, with their pure perspective, naivety, and straight forward point without by passing, says Martina Durljanova, lead trainer in the inclusive workshops o Judo Camp in Serbia.

On the last day, in the inclusion workshops all participants, typical and non typical with the help of the trainer Lena Sterea, created adaptive Judo techniques. To the participants it was presented the outcome of the project, the Toolkit and its purposes. They were more than happy that they could create something on their own and that would be accepted and even put in the book, and later to brag about to the other clubs, to promote Judo inclusion. In the workshop every group created 10 techniques. And when they return home they will continue with the process, because we need 100 in today (30+ from each club). But now we should be worried, because they know and they want to be part of the creation.

In the end inclusion in sports is not only teaching people with disabilities how to do sports but is working with them equally, supporting them and making them feel like part of the group, part of the whole process. We as a consortium partners are glad that the participants understood that without any prejudices and it was a pleasure hearing that they are looking forward to more people with various disabilities being included in their judo training program.

We can’t wait for another inclusive workshops in the judo tournament in June in Struga with new challenged and ideas.