Sports Is Sculpting of the Character

He won silver medal at the junior European Championship, gold at this year’s Mediterranean Games, however his real achievements are certainly only about to come. The absence of a good system is not an excuse, but a reason to compensate it with personal feats. He considers sport a field of righteousness and honesty, so he never turned to paths where someone else opens the door with unfair means. He was always a straight A school, now university student, because he thinks ahead

By: Dejan Bulajić
Photo: Guest’s Archive

He is one of the best young judoists in Europe. Already in 2010, as an eighteen year old, he won silver medal at the junior European Championship and bronze medal at the championship for competitors up to the age of 23. He will participate at the same competition in November this year, which will be his last performance in this age category and opportunity to effectively complete a successful competing season. He has already won gold medal at the Mediterranean Games and fifth place at the Universiade.

– Most people don’t know that competition in judo is very strong. Judo is a very attractive sport in all countries of the world, so representatives from more than a hundred countries show up at the biggest competitions in a single category. There is no need to say how difficult it is to reach the finals with such competition, let alone medals. Medals are my objective, but I want to reach them using quality, which I am slowly gaining. If I continue working hard, which I am convinced I will, there will come a period in which I will be winning golden medals all over the world year after year. Then it will become obvious that hard work has paid off and that my decision to walk to the top gradually, without hurrying and running, was correct.
His first encounter with judo took place in his early childhood.
– Judo was the first sport which came up as a possibility for me. I was seven and full of energy. However, my parents were both working and didn’t have time to take me to sports. Then the ”Trudbenik” judo club opened in my street in Konjarnik. I immediately started going to the workouts and as time passed by, it became clear to me that I had chosen the right thing. I slowly matured with this sport and I’m sure that it helped me understand the time and world I live in more easily and find the right place for myself.
The satisfaction for the invested efforts appeared on the side which cannot be valued with money.
– Besides the achieved successes and medals, I found satisfaction in wonderful experiences during these years. I met and kept in my life many good people, including team members, opponents and coaches. I spent more time with them at workouts, preparations and competitions than I did with my family. We became very close, with complete trust and understanding, and that’s something money can’t buy. Besides, I traveled much and saw a lot, which I wouldn’t without sports. Also important for me is that, in puberty, when we discover the world with different eyes and begin noticing that many around us look for shortcuts or are preferred, I found that there is no such thing in sports. Only the one ready to confront the opponent face to face and one who doesn’t retreat can count on victory. That’s fair and I’m ready to continue abiding those rules. Those used to having someone else opening doors for them can continue their way. I know we won’t meet.


The feeling of superiority is one of the things gained after years of being engaged in martial arts. Unfortunately, for some it can be an opportunity for proving themselves in their immediate surrounding.
– That’s not common for true sportsmen. If I’m practicing judo for fifteen years, my objective is to have a worthy opponent before me, with equal skills and strength. They are certainly not ordinary people and I’m sure that most recognized competitors in martial arts have never had the need to prove themselves among people who cannot defend themselves. That would be as if asking a two-year old to play chess with you. Martial arts fortify knightly convictions within people, so it has never even crossed my mind to show my skills in my surrounding.
It’s interesting that Aleksandar wasn’t born in Serbia, but in Prague.
– I was born in the capital of the Czech Republic in 1991, because my father worked in a then successful, unfortunately now collapsed, local company. My mother was with him because back then a family could live with one salary. After returning to our country, we moved to my father’s homeland, the village of Kukolji near Šehovići, in the vicinity of Zvornik, Republic of Srpska. However, due to the well-known events, we didn’t stay long, so I have lived in Belgrade since the age of one.
He considers Belgrade his home city and has special feelings for it.
– My first impressions about the world are related to Belgrade. Growing up, education and maturing took place in the streets of Belgrade and became part of my character. I love my city, but I also criticize us who live in it without doing enough to make it better and more beautiful. I’m sorry it’s not tidier. In many places of the world I’ve seen city authorities engaging people to draw graffiti. It soon turns into unique urban art which gives a special charm to every big city. Something similar should be done in Belgrade as well, to prevent the idle ones from scribbling stupidities on walls.
On the other hand, one shouldn’t criticize too much. There are so many beautiful things we are even not aware of. I always see how beautiful Belgrade is when my friends from abroad come to visit. Then I want to show them everything worthy of attention and there’s never enough time to see everything. Furthermore, they are also delighted with Belgrade, so all this sometimes warns me that we must have more respect for what is ours and try to preserve it, since this makes us more valuable as well.


Journeys have the power to enrich a human being with unexpected experiences. Some of them sometimes remain engraved as a permanent wish.
– I was lucky to have the opportunity to visit many countries and see different cities, but I never felt the wish to settle or spend a longer time in them. Perhaps I would if I could take my family and friends, all those with whom I want to spend my time. That’s my small universe. I especially remember the trip to Madrid and Lisbon, when I was in good company. I liked the Spanish capital so much that I’d like to visit it again. Unfortunately, our federation doesn’t have enough means to send my coach with me to competitions, so I’m often alone abroad. Then I concentrate on competitions, without paying much attention to other things.
Experiences of many judoists remind him that one should find ways to make a living outside of sports.
– I am fully aware of it and won’t let myself depend on changing conditions sport offers at the end of one’s career. That’s why I’ll soon graduate from the Faculty of International Economy at ”Megatrend”. I want to be existentially independent from judo. I’ve always been good at learning (I was a straight A student both in elementary and high school). I want to be a good example to all the children who wish to play this sport. Not only with medals, but also with my way of life. I want them to remember me as a character, not only as a winner. Once I finish my career, I won’t leave this sport, because I’d like to, either through the system or independently, help its organization and finding it a more solid place among popular sports.
Judo in Serbia.
– We’ve had excellent judoists, who won medals at the biggest international competitions, but it seems to me judo hasn’t had much use of it. It remained in the shadow of more popular sports, without much attention paid to it and without necessary means invested in it. Those who survive in it mostly lean on personal enthusiasm and cannot count on serious social support. It would be good to use the fact that we have several very talented competitors now, who could soon win world and Olympic medals. Perhaps that would remind the public of the significance of this sport and initiate boys and girls to begin practicing it. Otherwise, we’ll return judo to the level of recreational sports, in which champions will sporadically appear, thanks to personal ambitions, rather than a well organized system.


– If it weren’t for my family, I wouldn’t fulfill even a part of my wishes. We all know the difficult times we live in and how hard it is to provide conditions for a normal life, let alone someone who is a top sportsman. Furthermore, my parents are out of work and I also have a younger sister. But I’ve always had their support. From the first kimono my mother made for me, care about the equipment and nutrition completely taken over by her and my sister, to material needs before journeys, preparations and competitions, for which my father always finds a solution, they are people without whom I wouldn’t be able to tell even a part of my story. They have a share in each of my successes.


In the Village of Ancestors
He visited the birth village of his father only once.
– It was five years ago. That’s the first time I saw the remains of the birth house of my ancestors. The house was set on fire and only a few things were saved in it. Still, I did see the bed my father used to sleep in as a child. Only wires on the burned bed remained. I felt great sorrow. It was an encounter with something mine, yet lost forever. I was especially sorry for my father who took it very badly. I’ve never been there since.


He often mentions friends…
– They are a true value in life. I made many close friends during my growing up and education who, unfortunately, I can’t see that often, but when we do meet, it’s like we’ve been together every day. I’ve discovered many good people during my sports activities, among which some are my true friends. Sport can mint people and sculpt the genuine human values in them. I suppose it’s like that in all sports, but I can say for certain that it’s valid for judo. Those who don’t show such qualities soon jump out of track. Such people have taught me sacrifice, loyalty, persistence. There are things bigger than all measures and numbers.


– It’s a shame that most people who have achieved something in judo cannot survive in it after they stop competing. Thus we are deprived of the help of many brilliant and experienced people. I was lucky to find good people and coaches in my first club, ”Trudbenik”, especially Soko Ukić, whom I consider my second father. In my present club, ”Rekord” from Rakovica, I met extraordinary experts in judo, such as Srećko Mrvaljević, Nikola Nikolić and Miloš Ilić. I am convinced they will help me improve and make a successful career, because I’m ready to listen to their experiences and recommendations. I’m afraid, however, that many other clubs don’t have such experts, which is currently a problem without a solution.


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