CEO Update


Happy New Year! I hope your year has started well.

While most of the judo community has been enjoying a summer holiday, our national team has been training in Austria and competing in the African Open in Tunisia. Congratulations to Eoin Coughlan <81kgs, Elijah Schuurmans <100kgs and Chloe Rayner <48kgs all of whom took top five results in the competition. You can see the full results here.

The JFA office re-opened on 5 January and it has been full throttle from the get go. Considerable time is being dedicated to the High Performance (HP) portfolio. Post a consultation process with our National Coaches, the 2015 calendar of events for the seniors has been released, with the NTID Program confirmed until the end of March 2015. This will be published on our website by the end of the week.

There have been a number of operational HP tasks to complete over December and January but we have also been looking to the future of our HP program. It’s been a number of years since we podiumed at an Olympics or World Championships. Coupled with the clear direction and focus that comes from the Australian Sports Commission’s (ASC) Australia’s Winning Edge (AWE) Strategy, there is a need for significant change in the HP direction across judo.

We are working to develop a 2020 HP strategy aimed at increasing our competitiveness at benchmark events (i.e. World Championships and Olympics). Specifically this means we will transition away from a focus on year-to-year results to take a longer term view to produce a pipeline of talent for sustainable future success. We will be socialising the draft document in coming weeks.

Another key focus for the JFA in 2015 is our governance. The ASC will soon be delivering their ‘whole of sport’ governance review of judo to the JFA Board and myself. This is the culmination of many months of work by the ASC in consultation with the JFA Board, State Presidents and other key judo representatives. In keeping with the theme of building our sport to have a sustainable and successful future, we anticipate there is much change to come. We aim to develop a robust and consistent system of governance for judo in Australia that matches the scale of our operations and positions us well for future growth. 

With the scope and range of work ahead of us, the JFA team will expand this year. Careful thought is being put into when and how this will happen. You may have seen the first opportunity posted earlier this month, and I encourage you to periodically visit our website to learn more about future vacancies.

In addition to a focus on HP and governance, we still need to give time to ensuring our day-to-day operations continue to run. With close to 5000 members across every Australian State and Territory, the work that comes with this is substantial. In my first few months with judo, it is evident there is a need for change and process improvement across many areas. This cannot all be done at once but we will look to develop an agenda to reflect when we will, realistically, be able to dedicate time and effort to get new projects and initiatives underway. Many of these initiatives will require assistance from our community of volunteers. We will use the website and communication through the State/Territory Presidents and Secretaries to let you know when we are seeking assistance.

Late last year following a recommendation from the JFA Governance Committee, the Board changed the reporting structure of our committees with some now reporting to the Board (for constitutional reasons and/or those with a strategic focus) or the CEO (for those with an operational focus). In the coming weeks we will be looking at all of our committees with a view to confirming their purpose and scope, as well as their membership. It is likely some committees will cease to exist while others will be re-shaped and some new groups created.

As you can see there is plenty to be done. I look forward to sharing news of our progress with you. In the meantime, I wish you all the best for the year ahead and good luck to our junior team who has headed to Japan this week for training ahead of the USA Cup in Miami.


Paula Ward
Chief Executive Officer
Judo Federation of Australia Inc.