Telma Monteiro and other Olympians accuse FP Judo president of discrimination

Olympians Telma Monteiro, Catarina Costa, Bárbara Timo, Rochele Nunes, Patrícia Sampaio and Anri Egutidze accuse the president of the Portuguese Judo Federation (FPJ) of oppression and call for the intervention of the sport’s tutelage.

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In a letter signed by the six judokas, plus Rodrigo Lopes, in a total of seven of the 10 athletes of the Olympic project of the modality, there are many criticisms of Jorge Fernandes, accused of discrimination and threats, in what they say is an “unsustainable and toxic climate”. There are several points raised by the judokas, who say they have gathered and exposed the existing problems to the president of the FPJ, but who ran into the “lack of understanding, flexibility and sensitivity” of the leader.

The judokas regret that Jorge Fernandes continues to insist on the mandatory presence in Coimbra in 70/80 percent of the 52 stages in a year, threatening with the exclusion of the team, in case the athletes fail this assumption.

“What was a good solution during the period when the pandemic caused by covid-19 imposed the creation of a training bubble, in Coimbra, which allowed us to be at the Games safely, is today one of the factors in which we deeply disagree with the strategy imposed by the FPJ”, they say.

A scenario that, they explain, prevents them from participating in international internships and training with the best in the world, in addition to doing so in a place that they say is unsuitable: “Sometimes, there are only eight athletes present to train, and during the winter to be seven degrees inside the pavilion”.

In the statement, the judokas reveal that Anri Egutidze, of Georgian origin, was prevented by Jorge Fernandes from speaking his mother tongue, and was excluded from a competition for “reprisal” for an absence of internship and not, as justified, for reasons of health.

Also Telma Monteiro and Bárbara Timo, who did an internship in Italy at their own expense, say that the FPJ, through secretary Sergiu Oleinic, questioned whether they were there and that the Portuguese-Brazilian was reprimanded for her presence.

“We don’t understand what the standard of coherence is – the president of the Federation says that athletes can carry out international internships at their own expense, but when this happens, they face threats, reprisals and are called to attention”, they question.

Still in relation to the internships outside Portugal, the judokas also criticize the FPJ for dealing with the stays and trips at the last minute, “which shows the disorganization in which we live, harming the preparation of the athletes”.

The seven judokas also say they do not understand that the Judo Federation is responsible for managing the preparation grants awarded by the Olympic Committee to each of the athletes, who won them through certain sporting results.

“As each scholarship should be – by law – destined only to the athlete to which it is attributed”, they explain, adding that the FPJ has deducted from the scholarships the payment of each coach accompanying the athlete and that this expense “should be borne ” by the Federation.

Among several issues, Jorge Fernandes is also accused of making the selection calls, to the detriment of the coaches, and of having behaved inappropriately towards the judokas of Brazilian origin, Rodrigo Lopes, Bárbara Timo and Rochele Nunes.

The FPJ president is accused of having, at the meeting in which they expressed their discontent, categorized the origin of the three judokas and the fact that they signed the document in which they gave an account of the situation they live, calling them “ungrateful”.

Judoka Bárbara Timo even alleged that the trips to Coimbra contributed to the depression she experienced and made public, but that the FPJ president replied that no one forced her to come from Brazil to Portugal.

“Reference has been made to the origin of the athletes several times, who must be treated with respect and the right to express concerns or make similar suggestions to any other Portuguese athlete”, they say.

With less than two years to go before the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the judokas conclude that “judicial management is urgently needed” in their sporting and financial careers and ask that the respective Olympic grants be managed by the Olympic Committee of Portugal.

“We suggest that the scholarships for Olympic judokas start to be managed by the Olympic Committee of Portugal, in harmony with the clubs and the coaches”, they defend, appealing for the help of the entities that govern the sport, so that a solution can be reached, otherwise they will not find conditions to continue to face the demands of high competition and Olympic qualification”, they point out.

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Source: SÁBADO by www.sabado.pt.

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