“A systematic approach is essential for the success of a sports event”

Former top judoka Birgit Ente, alumna of Johan Cruyff Institute, organized a sport event in the historic city center of Haarlem (Netherlands)

As an elite judoka, alumna Birgit Ente was Dutch champion five times and participated in the Olympic Games in London. During her active judo career, she completed her studies at the Johan Cruyff Academy and went on to do the Sport & Facility/Event Management module at Johan Cruyff Institute. After quitting her professional judo career, and following an intense backpack trip around the world, she is currently working at Sportservice as functionary Judo in the Amsterdam East and South district, and also has her own company called Sportpartijtje (‘sport party’).

“At Sportpartijtje, the focus is on children and from there we mainly organize sports parties for children. But sometimes we also organize sports activities for adults, with the idea of taking them back to the time of their gym classes at primary school”, says the down-to-earth Dutch girl. “That’s why one of our ideas was to organize the ‘Open Haerlemse Trefbal Games’, at a unique place in the city: the Grote Markt, in the historic city center of Haarlem”.

The former judoka wrote an event plan for this event during the Sport & Facility/Event Management module. “Thanks to the knowledge I gained during this course, we were able to organise the event, which made us very proud! Eventually, the sports event consisted of 16 teams that played against each other in four different rounds. It was a great success for the participants, for us and for the municipality, which attracted a big crowd”.

A systematic approach is essential for the success of a sports event - Johan Cruyff Institute

Birgit Ente in action

“The Sport & Facility/Event Management module was essential for organizing the project successfully,” she continues. “You can think big, but you have to come up with a good concept. Because of the feedback I received during the program, I was able to perfect my plan. For example, I got guidance on the subject of ‘safety’. That of course is very important for every event, but certainly for sports events in a city center. The help I got in making a realistic and good planning was also very important. This enabled me to improve my presentation for the municipality of Haarlem, knowing that you have to apply for the licence at least six months in advance. In the end, they were so enthusiastic that we were able to hold the event in three months’ time.”

Birgit was internationally active on the tatami during the program. “I am very grateful to Johan Cruyff Institute for their support, because it enabled me to complete the course successfully. For example, I was able to take part in site visits to a number of important sports organizations, where I learned about their everyday challenges. The visits to AFC Ajax and the ‘old’ Thialf are most memorable. What I also found very educational and interesting was the diversity in the group. I come from sport myself, but there were fellow students in my class with a background in the sports industry, such as UNICEF and the Table Tennis Association.”


Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam uses a rich learning environment that fosters educational tools based on a student interaction model. We aim for a mix of students from sports and business sectors, which also enables students to share their unique experiences and learn from each other. Through ‘Cruyffian’ teaching methods the students will engage actively in creative challenges that require effort, commitment and intuitive thinking. Visit the web pages to find out about our programs:

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