Photo of the Month, November 2020 – European Judo Championships


“It was a strange European Judo Championships. Although it was held in Prague, I had to spend three nights in a hotel because I was part of a so-called bubble – a new feature of this coronavirus era. It meant that everyone taking part in any event had to get tested and then be locked up in a hotel together so they couldn’t get infected from anyone. We couldn’t leave the hotel or leave the sports hall. We were ferried between hotel and hall by bus. I was tested for Covid-19 a total of three times at the Championships. No spectators were allowed in the hall, and only a very limited number of media representatives were permitted. The only photographers there at the venue with me were my colleagues from AFP and ČTK. It was my first time taking photos of judo, so I was glad for all the advice I got from my friend at ČTK, Vítek Šimánek, who has practised judo. The championships lasted three days, always morning and afternoon and a finals programme. I must say that it was a difficult three days. Sitting cross-legged on the ground the whole time affected my knees and hips. I took this photo from the match between Nikoloz Sherazadichvili (white) of Spain and Mikhail Igolnikov (blue) of Russia in the quarterfinals of the 90kg category on the last day. What makes judo beautiful and also dangerous is the fact that the crucial parts take place in a fraction of a second. Like this moment. You have to take the shot and just hope the image will be a sharp one,” says Martin Divíšek.

Foto: Martin Divíšek / EPA photos

Martin Divíšek

I was born in 1985 in Prague. After studying at the Communication Technology Technical School and beginning studies at college, I joined the newspaper Šíp, transferring a year later to the newly established photography department at the Deník central newsroom. I’ve also been collaborating for many years with the Czech National Ballet, and since 2017 also with the European Pressphoto Agency.

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