Judo Delegation to Sarawak

A delegation of judoka (judo practitioner) was dispatched from Japan to Sarawak, Malaysia, with a focus on cultural exchange and promoting judo from December 2023 to January 2024.   The delegation was led by Kawamoto Hiroshi sensei, a middle school teacher in Hiroshima.

In the past, Kawamoto sensei has periodically visited Malaysia to instruct judo to children in Kuchin, Sarawak, for many years. After the hiatus of several years due to the effect of the COVID-19, the delegation was resumed for the 8th time, and this time he was joined by his former student and Olympic silver medalist Hiroaki Hiraoka sensei for the first time as well as 3 other judoka from Japan.

Despite minor travel hiccups, the experience fostered a deep appreciation for judo between the participants and the local judoka community.  One reason of the trip was the new dojo that has been established recently and named after Kawamoto sensei. This, along with a commemorative T-shirt presentation, highlighted the lasting impact Hirokawa-sensei has had on judo in Sarawak.

The trip extended beyond the technical instruction. It aimed to inspire the next generation of judo community and nurture a love for the sport. The hope is that judo will continue to flourish in Sarawak, fostering personal growth and community connection.