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Professor Lee Young: “Father of Spanish Judo”

Posted September. 13, 2005 07:33,   


At the 2005 International Judo Federation World Championship held in Cairo, Egypt, one can often catch sight of an elderly Korean gentleman talking to the Spanish coaching staff.

That gentleman is Lee Young (63), professor of physical education at the University of Madrid and technical advisor for the Spanish national team.

A member of the Korean national team in judo during the 1960s, professor Lee visited Spain alone in 1971 for the leadership training program sponsored by the Korea Judo Association. At that time, the Japanese were teaching judo in Spain, and Lee was the first Korean to reach Spain. Lee recalls, “Since I did not make it big as a judo player, I promised myself to succeed as a leader in a foreign country.”

Starting out as a leader in a private club, he won nine consecutive rounds in a 10-person match at an exhibition game during the Spanish Judo Championship in 1971 and afterwards received a request from the Royal Spanish Judo Federation to coach the Spanish national team.

For 14 years from 1971 to 1984, professor Lee fostered numerous judo players as coach and manager of the Spanish national team. Two Spanish judo heroes at the European Championship in mid-1970s, Santiago Ojeda (heavy division) and Joaquin Ruiz (73 kg division), are his disciples.

Professor Lee later received a degree in physical education at the University of Barcelona while being active as a leader and became a professor at the University of Madrid.

Macario Garcia, the coach of the male national team, is also his pupil. Sacramento Moyano, coach of the female national team and a gold medalist at the 1974 European Championships, showed deep respect for professor Lee, saying, “From this teacher not only did I learn the latest techniques but also the oriental way of showing respect for the opponent.”

Professor Lee said, “I will do my best to find what I can do for my motherland Korea and my second motherland Spain.”