Laura-Maria is a former international judo athlete and Secretary General of the Estonian Judo Association. She now works at the International Sport and Culture Association and was appointed to the IOC Sport and Active Society Commission to advise on the societal benefits of sport, with a focus on young people.
Laura’s “Julgen olla judoka” (Judo for all) project brought together 40 teenage girls from Estonia’s minority Russian community for a weekend of practical judo sessions, personal storytelling and learning from expert female speakers with diverse experiences in judo. The event offered a platform for the girls to raise questions they might be unwilling to ask their predominantly male coaches.
The overall goal was to get more females to practise judo and other combat sports, and improve teenage dropout rates. The project was highlighted as part of the World Judo Day celebrations.