Judo - 27 Aug 2013 - The influential Marius Vizer has been re-elected as president of the International Judo Federation, the sport's governing body, and will serve a four-year term encompassing the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Vizer was re-elected by acclamation at the IJF Congress in Rio, where the World Judo Championships are taking place.
It was the Romanian's second success at the polls in recent months, following his election as president of SportAccord, the umbrella organisation of 107 international sports federations and organisations, in May, when he defeated Bernard Lapasset, the president of the International Rugby Board, rugby union’s world governing body.
Vizer, the former president of the European Judo Union, was installed as president of the IJF in September 2007 following the resignation of his predecessor and rival Park Yong-sung of South Korea. At the time, the IJF Congress voted to extend his mandate from two to six years, as proposed by the executive committee.
Park had been the head of the IJF since 1995, but had come under pressure to stand aside, particularly from European members, after he was convicted on fraud charges relating to his former chairmanship of the Doosan industrial group, and questions were asked about his re-election in 2005, when he defeated Vizer.
Following his re-election on Sunday, Vizer said: "I am very emotional because we have worked together for six years with trust, collaboration and respect. I thank all officials, our IJF executive committee, the IJF staff, and everyone involved in the judo world. Thank you very much."
Vizer said he was focused on continuing the growth of the World Judo Tour and consolidating the sport's place on the Olympic Games programme.
He also reiterated his desire, through his presidency of SportAccord, to introduce a ‘United World Championships’ involving international federations, both Olympic and non-Olympic, staging their world championship in the same year every four years, in various cities in the same country, beginning in 2017.
Vizer said: "I have the intention to organise a United World Championships every four years. Events would generate revenue for national federations, continental unions and would take place on the years following an Olympic Games before the Olympic qualification period is active."
In other business at the congress in Rio, Haruki Uemura stepped down from the IJF executive committee following his resignation as chairman of the All Japan Judo Federation earlier this month in a scandal over abuse of female athletes and financial mismanagement.
In March, the Japanese Olympic Committee slashed funding for the AJJF following allegations made by 15 current and former members of the women’s national judo team, concluding that there had been “serious misconduct.”
The athletes claimed they had been slapped, shoved and beaten with bamboo by head coach Ryuji Sonoda and his staff. Sonoda resigned in January.
There were also allegations that officials received money from a government coaching fund, even though they were not coaches.
Uemura was replaced on the IJF executive committee by Russia's Arkady Rottenberg, who also took on the role of IJF development manager.
Jose Humberto Rodriguez, chief executive of USA Judo, also joined the IJF executive committee as development director, replacing Libya's Hedi Dhouib, who has become the federation's director of international affairs.