History of Hungarian Judo

In 1906, upon the invitation of Count Miklós Szemere, master Kichisaburo Sasaki, a student of Jigoro Kano, arrived in Hungary to introduce and popularise judo. He began the course – which was planned to last four months – with sixty students at the sports complex of BEAC in Lágymányos, but one after the other students kept dropping out from the course, which required great discipline and perseverance, until by the end of the third month only four of them remained. The master even noted that “Hungarian youngsters lack sufficient perseverance”, and considered it conceivable that judo would not take roots in Hungary.

Luckily, he was not right, although slightly more than half a century had to pass until, in 1957, the Hungarian Judo Association was established, which today has close to two hundred member clubs, with approximately 15,000 members, in ten male and eight female age groups, from kindergarten up to the masters.

Over the years, Hungarian judokas have collected hundreds of medals in world competitions (the adults alone claimed 18 gold, 35 silver, and 57 bronze medals in the Olympics and in World and European Championships).

The greatest success came in the “Golden Olympics” of 1992 in Barcelona, where Antal Kovács won gold, József Csák and Bertalan Hajtós silver, and Imre Csősz bronze medals, but Hungarian judokas were also hugely successful in London last year (2012): Miklós Ungvári won a silver and Éva Csernoviczki a bronze medal, Hedvig Karakas and Abigél Joó came fifth, and Barna Bor finished in seventh place. (http://www.eju.net/development-of-judo-in-hungary-2231)

Notable judokas (wikipedia)


Olympic Medalists of Hungarian Judo


The only Hungarian Olympic Champion was present at the team presentation for the Olympic Games. Antal Kovacs won the Olympic title in 1992. Hungary, organizer of the 2017 World Championships qualified again with 8 athletes for the Olympic Games, just like in 2012 in London.


The Hungarian captured nine Olympic medals and the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona were by far the most successful with four medals, but since then Hungary hadn’t won any medal until the London Games. In Rio the Hungarians have medal chances for Krisztian Toth, the world’s number 4 U90kg is seeded together with Eva Csernoviczky (U48kg) and Barna Bor (+100kg). The team doesn’t differ too much from the team in 2012 with a fighter each day of the Olympics in 2012, now Miki Ungvari, captain of the team fights U73kg and the Games will kick-off with Csernoviczky, hopefully with a medal again. At day 3 Ungvari and Hedvig Karakas are outsiders for a medal, Ungvari knows when to peak as he captured silver in 2012. Karakas came tremendously close with a fifth place.

At day 4, Laszlo Csoknyai is going for his second Olympics as well, U81kg. He won bronze at the Grand Prix in Havana, but is not a favourite. His experience may count though in this competitive weight category. Krisztian Toth is the new comer in the team, but also the major medal contender U90kg. Toth developed like a comet and won World silver in 2014 and was ranked world number one in 2015. Toth won three silver medals this year at the Grand Prix Havana, Grand Prix Düsseldorf and European Champoionships in Kazan. Toth is by far the youngest of the with 22, Joo the second youngest, in Rio 26.

At day 6 Abigel Joo will fight U78kg. She became fifth in London due to a knee injury but was absolutely in medal shape in 2012. Joo was the only Hungarian who won an IJF World Tour event this year, in Havana. Miklos Cirjenics had an amazing sprint in April with bronze in Samsun, silver in Baku and he won bronze in January in Havana. It delivered him just a place in the seeded area U100kg. He proved to be able to surprise. At the last Olympic judo day Barna Bor will do another attempt to medal at the Olympics.

One of the best referees in the world of judo Annamaria Fridrich is Hungarian too, she is in action each day.


Olympic medals Hungary


GOLD (1)

Kovács Antal (1992, Barcelona)



Hajtós Bertalan (1992, Barcelona)

Csák József (1992, Barcelona)

Ungvári Miklós (2012, London)



Tuncsik József (1976, Montreal)

Kincses Tibor (1980, Moszkva)

Ozsvár András (1980, Moszkva)

Csősz Imre (1992, Barcelona)

Csernoviczki Éva (2012, London)