Judo in Bulgaria

The famous General Vladimir Stoychev has a key role for the beginning of judo in Bulgaria. He himself studied jiu- jitsu in Vienna, so on his initiative two schools were established in this discipline, which, exist only 2 years (1923-1924).

The start was given, and the first public appearances were in the Sofia casino (1925-1926).

The general, who was honorary Chairman of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee at the time, assisted in 1957 in setting up the first judo and sambo commission of the wrestling section of the then governing body, the Central Council of the Bulgarian Union for Physical Education and Sports (CSF BSFS). Prof. Zhivko Filipov, who studied judo in Budapest, was elected for a President. Exactly he sewes the first judogi (kimono тук не ти препоръчвам да изпозлваш думата кимоно.) in our country.

The study of this sport is possible in all sorts of ways. The ambassador of Brazil to Bulgaria, for example, supplies literature and equipment. For the World Wrestling Championships in 1957, two Japanese specialists caming to lead trainings.

From 1948, judo and jiu-jitsu begins to be a regular subject of study at the National Sports Academy with a pause of 3 years (1953-1956).

Tsvetan Hadzhiev is our first graduated coach (1962). Later he becames our first International referee.

In 1958 Bulgaria was accepted as a member of the European Judo Union. But the President, Prof. Zhivko Filipov, did not coordinate this move with the state authorities and is forced to resign. His place is taken by Eng. Dosyo Dosev.

In 1962 judo was separated as an independent sport and on December 15 the Bulgarian Judo Commission was established, headed by Eng. Dosev.

A year later, on December 29, the first republican championships is held in the gymnasium of Vasil Levski stadium. Among the winners is Svetoslav Ivanov (68 kg), who later became a coach, international referee and President of the federation. All champions have been awarded diplomas and tracksuits, and the overall winner was "Academik" (Sofia).

On the International tatami Boncho Khalhulov becames fourth at the World Championships in Prague in 1964.

In September 1968, the Bulgarian Judo Commission was renamed as the Bulgarian Judo Federation. Dosyo Dosev remains President of the federation. A commission for the development of women's judo have been created at the headquarters, headed by Lyubasha Zhivkova.

The first great Bulgarian successes abroad began. The governing body of sports - the Bulgarian Union for Physical Culture and Sports decides to provide a regular position- President of the federation. Vasil Ivanov was elected to the post in 1974, which he held for 9 years and under whose leadership our judokas have achieved their greatest successes.

Dimitar Zapryanov brings Bulgaria first medal from the European Championships - bronze in the cadets from Miskolc (Hungary) in 1978. For the first time we have a European men's champion (Georgi Petrov, 1981) and a medal from the World Championships (Georgi Petrov, 1981), we also won our first Olympic medals (Dimitar Zapryanov and Ilian Nedkov, Moscow 80).

Our athletes indusing furore at the first Balkan Championships in Istanbul in 1975. The national team tooks second place after the team of the former Yugoslavia. And in the individual title Georgi Koprivlenski wons, silver - Tsonyo Atanasov, and bronze Ivan Ivanov and Svetoslav Velchev.

On November 12, 1991, the Bulgarian Judo Federation and Jiu-Jitsu was already registered, then Svetoslav Ivanov became a President.

The changes that set up in the years of transition also require a change in sports policy. Namely, instead of coaches and activists, businessmen enter the governing body in order to financially stabilize the federation.

On January 24, 1996, Ivan Vassilev was elected to the post, who ruled for 22 years. Then Bulgaria wons third Olympic medal - bronze to Georgi Georgiev from Athens in 2004. At the previous Atlanta '96 Games Ivan Netov remaines at step from the Olympic podium - seventh. In Rio 2016 Ivaylo Ivanov is also seventh. Tsvetana Bozhilova has dominated the heavyweight category for many years, winning over 20 awards from major championships. During Ivan Vassilev's rule, the position of Secretary General was held by Asen Korudzhiev, who held the post for 26 years. He is the person who helps Bulgaria to host 5 European championships at different ages.

And since "jiu-jitsu" does not develop under the federation, on October 1, 2003 this sport was removed from the name in order to register the Bulgarian Judo Federation.

Ivan Vassilev's management activity ends on September 26, 2018, after the clubs provoked an extraordinary general assembly, disaffected by the management policy.

Thus Roumen Stoilov was elected to the post. Two years after his managment, Bulgaria already has its first medal from the Masters tournament - bronze of Ivaylo Ivanov in Doha 2021. Ivanov also won the first medal in the debut edition of the European Olympic Games - silver from Minsk 2019.

Stoilov was also elected to the Board of the European Judo Union as Education director, receiving full support - 87 of the votes. This made him the first Bulgarian entering the governing bodies of European judo.The country also received its first time hosting for the Senior European Judo Championships 2022.