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19990102_New rules introduced for junior competitons

    The Malta Judo Federation places a great importance on its youth sector. That on its own must be the greatest contributor to the success of the national team in the Games of the Small States of Europe.
    In the past Telemalta was one of the strongest partners of the federation. Telemalta has now changed to Maltacom and the latter's support is now focused mainly on the athletes of the future. This year Maltacom became the official sponsor of MJF national nursery.
    Thanks  to this sponsorship, the MJF is in a position to rehabilitate the damage caused to the Training Centre in Pembroke, which was destroyed by arsonists, and send its youth coaches to specialised courses in Rome. Besides this, the federation will also be investing in activities for young judokas between the ages of five and 15.
    Last March, the MJF organised a promotion tournament on competitive basis the day after the Malta Open. Learning from past experience, the competition rules and age groups for last month's Promotion Tournament' 98 were modified.
    The MJF insists that young judokas should be exposed to competition very cautiously and more attention should be given to skill rather than results. The judo practised should be clean simple and direct. Real competition starts at age 15.
    Fresh from a European siminar "Judo for Youth" in Rome and keeping this concept in mind, the MJF applied new rules for its Promotion Tournament. These were:
    Two classed of categories - one for beginners (un-graded) and another for graded; no strangles & arm-locks; Kumikata before Hajime (the two competitiors) start holding each other in order not to rush each other); Matte on break of Kumikata by both competitors (as soon as they leave each other the referee stops the competition); after first warning - penalty; action on knee, grips below belt, arm around neck, Makikomi (winding technique) and Sutemi (sacrifice throws).
    These rules were introduced to encourage clean judo techniques and avoid all possibility of injuries. In fact, although such mishaps in judo are scarce, during last month's Promotion Tournament there were no recorded injuries. The level of competition was very encouraging and some great talent and potential champions could already be seen.
    This event was not only a great promotional tournament for the young judoaks, but also sn opportunity for the new referees and table officials to put into practice what they have been studying these past months.
    Ray Fava, MJF Refereeing Director, should be satisfied with the work done as John Zammit, Mario Cardona, Joe Muscat, Eileen Portelli and Pierre Caruana, refereeing and controlling the bouts very effectively, were making their debut. 
    On the table, officiating the event under the leardership of Mario Giuliano, were Louise Galea, Alexis Milne, John Scicluna, Adrian Dalli and Martin Chetciti.
    All the young judokas  received the new T-shrit with Censu the Dragon. Censu is the mascot of the Dragon Espoir, the dragon in Japanese mythology is a superior being symbolising courage and exemplary behaviour.
    The next Promotion Tournament will be held  on March 7 in conjunction with the XV Maltacom International Tournament.