USA Judo officials have been appointed to key positions on the IJF

By Ernest Pund | Sept. 11, 2013, 12:18 p.m. (ET)

Dr. Stephen Swirsky and Mr. Jose Humberto Rodriguez at the IJF Hall Fame during the 2013 Rio World Championships

Setting another benchmark for the sport of judo in the United States, several USA Judo officials have been appointed to key positions with the International Judo Federation, including USA Judo’s CEO Jose H. Rodriguez, who was named to the IJF Executive Committee.

These administrative appointments arrived in addition to U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison being named to the IJF’s prestigious Athlete’s Committee.

"I am very pleased that USA Judo finally has the direct IJF representation at the highest level that we need to maximize our impact in the international judo arena,” said USA Judo President Lance Nading.

“A few years ago, our partner, the U.S. Olympic Committee, made it crystal clear to us that international federation representation at the executive level would be mission critical for any fully financially supported NGB,” Nading said, “and I'm again thrilled that we today have achieved that benchmark."

Rodriquez was recommended for the post by IJF President Marius Vizer and ratified by the IJF Congress at the organization’s meeting in Rio de Janeiro that preceded the recent Senior World Championships.

Rodriguez is the first representative named to the IJF Executive Committee from the United States, another benchmark in efforts by USA Judo to promote the sport on home soil and U.S. interests in judo abroad.

“I am happy to be able to serve the sport at the international level and accept the position as recognition of the work that all of our staff, volunteers and volunteer leadership, including our board members, have made,” said Rodriguez. “The investment in both time and money the organization has made in bringing all the international events to the U.S., as well as ensuring that our athletes have participated internationally, has paid off.”

Other USA Judo officials named to key positions with the IJF:

Lieutenant Colonel Hector Morales was nominated earlier this year and confirmed to represent the United States on the International Judo Federation’s Armed Forces and Police Commission.

Dr. Stephen Swirsky, a physician at Miami Children’s Hospital, was named to the IJF Medical Committee.

Coach and International Referee Robert Fukuda became a voting delegate representing the United States at the IJF congress in Rio.

Marius Vizer, who was applauded for cementing the sport’s place in the Olympic movement, and establishing rules making the sport more appealing to a broader audience since taking office as President in 2007, was reelected to that position for another four years.

Mr. Vizer said: “I am very emotional because we have worked together for six years with trust, collaboration and respect. I thank all officials, our IJF Executive Committee, the IJF staff, and everyone involved in the judo world. Thank you very much.”