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Hani Sharif Al Halabi
Judo is both a physical and spiritual sport. In addition to building stamina and enhancing physical strength and flexibility, Judo teaches discipline, self-restraint and moderation. Judo is also a cultural activity in that it diverts the attention of Palestinian youth from negative western behaviours, such as drug abuse and extreme self-indulgence in physical pleasure, and brings them closer to their community and social traditions and customs.
Thus the activities of the Palestinian Judo League aim to instil national, moral, and cultural spirit in young Palestinian athletes as well as strengthen character and elevate cognitive and intellectual capabilities. Furthermore, through organising Judo courses for kids and youth, the Palestinian Judo League aims to promote the principles of democracy, freedom of expression, and respect for the other.
The Jerusalem-based Palestinian Judo League, a non-profit association, was founded in 1967. Its administrative body acts under the supervision of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Olympic Committee. The League enjoys full membership in the International Judo League (IJL) and the Asian Judo League (AJL), and it was a founding member of the Arab Judo League (AJL) in Cairo in 1975. Its president, Mr. Hani Halabi, was elected a member of the Executive Office for the Arab Judo League.
The Palestinian Judo League organises and oversees various activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem. It holds four annual championships for beginners and four annual professional championships; it supervises training courses in Jerusalem and in the northern and southern governorates of the country, bringing together hundreds of Judo lovers from all ages and both sexes. Moreover, the League holds courses for trainers and referees and organises public competitions.
The League represents Palestine regionally and internationally and is known for its many activities and achievements.
1. The League held the 15th Palestine Judo Championship in Isaad al-Tufuleh Center in the city of Hebron. Sixteen competitors representing 16 clubs in West Bank governorates participated in this championship.
2. For the first time in the Middle East, the League organised the Palestine Judo Championship for the Blind. The championship took place in accordance with IJL rules and regulations.
3. The League offered courses to referees and trainers from Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, and Ramallah. Two of the referees received an International Arbitration Badge in Thailand.
4. It received the bronze medal in the West Asian Championship for Beginners.
5. The League circulated its 2008 annual plan and is committed to fully implementing all its activities.
6. The League held its annual spring Judo conference in Jerusalem, with the participation of 250 Judo players, referees, and trainers.
7. It organised and convened a three-day training camp in Jericho. Seventy Judo players and trainers from various West Bank governorates took part in the camp.
8. The League sent three Judo trainers to Code College in Tokyo, Japan, where they participated in an international training course.
Judo, meaning “gentle way,” is practiced by many young Palestinian male and female athletes. They practice Judo to excel in competition, to stay in shape, to develop self-confidence, and for many other reasons. But most of all, they practice Judo just for the fun of it.
Hani Sharif Al Halabi is director of the Palestinian Judo League, founding and elected board member of the Arab Judo Federation in Cairo. He participated in the Asian Cups in 1998, 2002 and 2006 as well as in training and referee courses in Japan, Korea, Egypt, Syria and other Asian countries. Al Halabi, who holds Dan 6, the highest in Palestine, volunteered to train the national Judo team between 1982 and 1998 and still trains children in Judo. He is also a designated expert of the International Judo Federation and the JUA and is entitled to give international certificates. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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