IJF media Department
IJF Media Team / IJF
Ilias Iliadis (GRE), along with Paula Pareto (ARG), are the Athlete Role Models (ARM) for Judo at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games, a role that is important to them and of which they measure the importance.
“I feel really good, healthy and happy to be here“, explained Ilias Iliadis, before adding: “It’s a good experience for the young athletes but for me as well. I enjoy every moment. It is great to have the possibility to exchange with other people. I think that I can share my experience as much as I learn from them.“
Very active on social networks, Ilias provides advice to young people whose lives are now almost permanently connected: “Social media are taking a bigger and bigger place in the lives of young people today. It is important that they understand what it means and what they can do.“
Of these four days of exchanges, the Greek champion can already draw interesting conclusions: “I am astonished to see how many people speak about judo and know something about our sport. We are no longer an underrated sport. Here everyone knows Paula, and knows what I did in my competitive career. Everyone also knows the IJF and the work the International Federation is doing around the world to promote judo and its values. I can only say one thing: THANK YOU! Thanks to the IJF, its president, Marius Vizer, and all the technical teams for all they do for our sport. It’s incredible.”
Both Ilias and Paula are there to watch judo: “I want to see judo. On the first day, I had a lot of fun watching the future great champions of tomorrow,” said Ilias, before adding: “In -44kg, we had a final between a competitor from India and one from Venezuela. It is fantastic that countries that were not visible on the international scene are now able to bring out high quality judoka. The young Maria Gimenez (VEN) was so strong. We need to discover new talent. I love attending a tournament and discover new techniques, new ways to practice judo. We are a living sport that evolves permanently.”
Ilias Iliadis also has a message for the youth present in Buenos Aires: “I want to tell them that I do not want to hear ‘I’m too young’. No, it does not work. It does not make any sense. Watch Daria Bilodid (UKR), who at the age of 17 has just won the world title in Baku. Is she too young? Certainly not. It is not a question of age, it is a question of will and motivation. So we have to stop planning things for the next day. We must do what needs to be done now, without waiting.”