In traditionally macho Brazil and in the male-dominant sports world, a female coach, Yuko Fujii was appointed head coach of the country’s renowned judo men’s team. Today, she has made history as the first female head coach of Brazilian men’s judo.
The only woman to ever coach the Brazilian women’s national football team was fired after less than a year, prompting protests by players. The Brazilian Judo Confederation hopes it is playing a part in changing that.
“Our selection of Yuko as head coach for the men’s team really surprised the judo world. I’m sure other federations and other sports teams in Brazil will follow the example.” “Yuko is an excellent example of the increasing recognition of women’s role in sports, especially since judo is a martial art that women have had restricted access to throughout history,” says Ney Wilson, a confederation administrator.
Yuko says that she just wants to contribute “everything I have” to the team.
She defines her coaching style as totally geared to the individual. “I don’t teach my own judo style to the athletes, I work with them based on their own strengths and weaknesses,” she says.
“I never thought much about men versus women.”