Leipzig. Four months ago, the dismissal of national judo coach Udo Quilmals ended in a very ugly fashion. Since the regional federation had to forego a large five-figure sum in funding due to the loss of the federal base and the Olympic champion was not willing to continue working on half the salary, the Leipzig martial arts star and the Judo Association split up after just under a year and a half from Saxony ( JVS).
Now “Quelle” is back. Children’s eyes light up when the most successful Leipzig judoka ever steps on the carpet. “I am looking forward to my new job – in February I never would have imagined that I would be here again today,” said the 54-year-old, who is now a club coach at Leipzig Judo Club. . For months, the JCL board of directors around President Matthias Kiefer has been campaigning for the return of the Atlanta Golden Boy from 1996. Kiefer remains convinced “we would have found a solution in the winter had JVS approached us when funding problems arose”. That was yesterday’s news, and now we’re looking forward. Kiefer did his best to create a three-year financing concept. Together with its partners, JCL receives the majority of the salary, to which the city also contributes through the Youth Major Sports Project.
“The sports department saw it as we did: Odo is important for our sport and for Leipzig – and therefore also for Saxony,” emphasizes Kiefer. The experience of the former national coach in Austria, Great Britain and Qatar should benefit talent across all clubs.
Udo Quillmals is alien to any kind of personality cult. So he was feeling uneasy because it had been talked about so much since February. In the end, much appreciation emerged – and (finally) a discussion began about how to breathe new life into competitive judo in Saxony. Head coach Mike Goepfert – who has also been in charge of competitive sports at JVS in an honorary capacity since April – says: “It probably took all the hype for everyone to start from scratch and stick together. In any case, I’m glad Udo will continue to play judo in the region. Will We use his human strength and proficiency. Holding such a person has a luster.”
The JCL Quellmalz coach’s first official job was a weekend morning training for over 50 children from five clubs in Brüderstraße. “It was 33 degrees outside. The kids had to choose between ‘Cossi’ and a crowded hall – and they were excited to train with us,” says Quellmalz, who was supported by four-time European champion and JCL legend Katja Gerber. Speaking of which: the Kiefer/Quellmalz duo are optimistic that JCL’s coaching team, Haiko Seidlitz, Markus Jähne and Roman Schulze, includes three former coaches at the national base. It is also positive that during the pandemic, only 15 of the 200 judoka juniors in the union have been cancelled.
Quellmalz wants it to be accessible to all age groups. The training can be customized by it. But it will not work miracles: “There is no great trick to winning your battles. In addition to good technique, you first need a high physical level.” And 100 percent motivation.