Rok Draksic Looking To Enhance Finland’s Presence In Judo

A multi-time judo champion, Rok Draksic started competing since the early 2000s. The Olympic participant’s years of knowledge has become extremely helpful for his country of Slovenia. Now, he will look to use his experience to train Finland’s next generation of judo stars.

Draksic was named the head coach of the Finnish Judo Association. “My goal is to bring Finnish judokas back to the game,” Draksic stated, via Judo Inside.

“Since last autumn, we have been applying for a rhythm change in national team coaching and concentrating resources in Helsinki. Through the bends, the head coach contract is now finally in place. Getting Rok to Finland is a great thing for the whole Finnish judo. He has a desire to take on the challenge and I believe that together with him, athletes will be able to take the required step to the next level. The aim is to create credible daily training conditions in Helsinki that meet international standards, ” Coaching Manager of the Finnish Judo Association Jaana Jokinen went on to say.

Draksic won gold at the 2013 European Champions at the men’s -73 kg. He also won silver in the 2005 Mediterranean Games and bronze in the 2015 European Games. While he came up short in the Olympics, Draksic’s presence was undeniable. He ended up winning medals during Masters, Grand Slam, and Grand Prix tournaments. Retiring from competition in 2017, Draksic started his coaching career and helped several athletes from Slovenia earn titles.

Slowly but surely, judo has created a buzz within the area. Some of Finland’s top stars in the sport include Emilia Kanerva, a silver medalist in the World Championships, and the Continental Cup, as well as Martti Puumalainen, a silver medalist in the 2013 European Youth Festival in Utrecht and a bronze medalist during this year’s European U23 Championships.

As of right now, the focus for the Finnish judo team will be the Nordic Judo Championships, which were postponed as a result of the coronavirus. It will now take place on the weekend of September 12-13. After that, the focus will be on the Olympics next year and in Paris 2024.

“The Judo Federation has set the goal of restoring Finnish judo to the prize pool. The top group that is now being formed has the potential to do this, and we believe that, according to Rok Draksic, the entry will bring the knowledge and attitude that will help achieve the goal. Draksic certainly has the knowledge of what is required to succeed in judo today,” President of the Finnish Judo Association Marko Laaksonen stated.

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