Tokyo Olympics: Netizens, Judo Federation Criticize German Coach for Slapping Female Athlete

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Claudiu had slapped his player as part of a warm-up ritual.
Claudiu had slapped his player as part of a warm-up ritual. (Image: nicklasmattsson via Pixabay)

A German Judo coach has become the center of attention for his aggressive way of firing up his female player during a warm-up prior to her Olympic judo match.

The warm-up routine involved judoka Martyna Trajdos being shaken vigorously and slapped on the face. The clip of the incident went viral and the coach was criticized by some netizens for violent behavior against the female athlete.

International Judo Federation (IJF), the governing body for judo, issued a formal warning to the coach, Claudiu Pus, “for the bad behavior he showed.” The organization said that judo is an educational sport and that such behavior cannot be tolerated.

Trajdos defended her coach stating that he was only doing what she had asked him to do. “Looks like this was not hard enough,” she said in an Instagram post that included the video showing the incident.

The video clearly shows that Trajdos was expecting aggressive behavior from her coach as part of the pre-match warm-up routine. Claudia stood facing her, grabbed her by the front of the Judo uniform, giving her a couple of intense shakes, and then proceeded to land two hard slaps, one on each cheek.

The German judo star asked people not to blame her coach. “I wish I could have made a different headline today. As I already said, that’s the ritual which I chose pre-competition! My coach is just doing what I want him to do to fire me up.”

Though some netizens criticized Claudiu, others supported Trajdos and her coach, saying that they are aware that the incident was merely a private ritual.

“Don’t change a thing. If this is your ritual and it helps you then so be it. Ignore the overly sensitive people out there who do nothing but complain,” one Instagram user said.

“This is just a matter of getting into the spirit of things. Not an uncommon sight in martial arts,” another user commented.

The 32-year-old judoka was the champion in the 2015 European Games, winning the gold medal in the tournament. In the 2020 women’s 63 kg event at the European Games tournament, she won bronze.

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