With less than a week to go to the European Kendo Championships in Berlin, one can sense the collective energy build-up amongst prospective competitors. Team selection has been finalised, last minute training sessions have been held and messages of support are going out as I write this. All that is left for the athletes to do is to stay focused. The referees are as good as they are going to get before next week, so it is just a matter of packing t
he white shirts, flags and rule-books. The only people with a really big job to do this week are the organisers!
From my experience of playing a small part in the administration of the 13th EKC and a bigger part in organising the 12WKC, the German Kendo Association has my sympathy and admiration. The effort that goes into organising an event of this scale is enormous. Arranging the shiai venue, organising transport and accommodation, fighting for sponsorship; these are all daunting tasks. Most crucially making the budgets work, particularly in the current economic climate must be a real challenge.
Any country kendo association prepared to take on responsibility for such a major event deserves credit, particularly the smaller groups who have done such a good job in previous years despite having had to risk the financial stability of their associations on the success of these events.
In all cases it is as a result of the generosity of volunteers that makes these events possible. Thousands of hours of planning and administrative work must have already gone into this 25th EKC and a lot of the physical work is still to happen. While the rest of us are checking that we’ve packed our socks, I imagine that the organisers are running through a host of last minute checks on facilities, security and transport and of course making sure that everything works to plan within the stadium.
I am looking forward to doing my best as a referee and seeing some great kendo over the three days. Hopefully there will also be a chance to see the sights of Berlin and to enjoy a few beers when it’s all over. When we get to the Sayonara party lots of competitors will be ready to let off steam after giving their all in the shiai-jo, but no-one will deserve their celebrations more than the organising team. So only another week to go guys, gambatte and thank you in advance for all your hard work.