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Judo

Antonio Tenorio

Antonio Tenorio

Judoka Soazo Faces Toughest Competition of Career

Since winning gold in Beijing, Soazo has had to settle for silver and bronze at the last two world championships. In London, she hopes to wrestle her way back to the top of the podium.

Naomi Soazo Venezuela's Naomi Soazo celebrates victory at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. © • Lieven Coudenys
By IPC

“It is very important that people know that in life there are no limits. Having a disability does not mean that we should limit ourselves.”

Four years ago, Naomi Soazo was the first Venezuelan to bring home a Paralympic gold in the -63kg Judo competition.

In the finals at Beijing 2008 she caught Spain’s Marta Arce off guard and quickly threw her to win gold after just three seconds.

It was a victory that the 42-year-old will never forget, and one that she hopes to repeat in London.

“I am very proud to have been able to bring this gold medal to Venezuela,” said Soazo. “I never thought that I would be the first to get it and it gave me a great thrill. I thank God and life to have had the opportunity to get it. It's a reward for years of hard work and dedication.”

Since Beijing 2008, she has competed in several prestigious international competitions. She won silver at the IBSA 2010 World Championships in Antalya, Turkey. After winning her first three rounds there, she lost to China’s Tong Zhou in the finals.

At the IBSA 2011 World Championships she had to settle for bronze, after being defeated in the third round by Brazil’s Danielle Bernades da Silva, who went on to win gold.

Soazo admits that the level of competition is very high, but she maintains that she is her own biggest rival.

“In Judo all opponents are tough, but I am training to beat them,” said Soazo, whose father, Humberto Soazo, coaches her and the rest of the team.

“It is amazing to have my dad as a coach.

“He demands our best when we are training. He knows and enjoys his job. He gives us the security and confidence that we need.”

In May, Soazo is headed to Japan to continue her training with teammates Marcos Tovar (-66kg), William Montero (+100kg) and Mauricio Briceño (-73kg).

“We are currently training very hard,” she said. “We are four athletes who will represent Venezuela. We are strengthening the weaknesses that we could have and polishing those skills that we already have.”

Though Soazo and her teammates are working hard, she says they have a lot of fun during training.

“In times of breaks one of us makes a joke or says something funny. We really have fun at training.”

Before London, the team will complete their final preparations in Spain.

As she works hard towards London 2012, tickets are selling fast, and the prospect of competing in a venue that will be completely sold out looks ever more likely.

“I believe that spectators should see the Paralympic Judo because they can see how we execute the techniques despite having a disability.

“They see that we can develop fully as good as conventional judokas. We can perform the techniques and movements perfectly.

“We can move and execute our techniques using other senses, such as: touch, audio and intuition.

“It is very important that people know that in life there are no limits. Having a disability does not mean that we should limit ourselves.”

Judo: What to Watch

With three days of grappling and struggling, Judo will be one of the highlights of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

A pictures of 2 mens in action during a Judo demonsrtation Two Athletes taking part in a Judo demonstration during the International Paralympic Day at Trafalgar Square © • Getty Images
By IPC

"The Powell brothers will likely captivate home crowds in the men’s events, though they are likely to be the underdogs in the competition."

The Paralympic Judo competition begins on 30 August with the lighter judokas, going through to the heavyweights on 1 September. The sport for visually impaired athletes takes place at ExCeL where spectators with a day pass can also see Powerlifting, Sitting Volleyball and Table Tennis on those days.

On 30 August, home crowds will have their eyes on Ben Quilter, who won gold at the 2010 IBSA World Championships. After finishing fifth in Beijing, Quilter will hope to medal in London in the -60kg category. He will face stiff competition, however, from Japan’s Takaaki Hirai and Azerbaijan's Ramin Ibrahimov.

The men’s -66kg and women’s -48kg and -52kg also take place that day. Germany’s Carmen Brussig will hope to better her bronze medal from Beijing in the -48kg category. One of her toughest opponents may be Kai-Lin Lee of Chinese Taipei, who is the reigning world champion.

Brussig’s sister, Ramona, is set to compete the following day (31 August ) in the -57kg category, in which Azerbaijan’s Afag Sultanov is the reigning world champion.

Venezuela’s Naomi Soazo, who is on the IPC’s Ones to Watch list, will hope to repeat her Beijing gold medal performance in the -63kg category. Her toughest competition may come from Spain’s Marta Arce and world champion Daniele Bernades da Silva of Brazil .

The Powell brothers will likely captivate home crowds in the men’s events, though they are likely to be the underdogs in the competition. Marc Powell’s best result was fifth place in the -73kg category in the 2010 German Open whilst his brother Dan got silver at the 2009 World Youth Games and was knocked out at the quarter finals of the 2010 World Championships in the -81kg category.

The final day of Judo on 1 September will be all about another set of brothers: Sam and Joe Ingram. Sam, the younger of the brothers, was the only British judoka to medal in Beijing 2008 and will hope to better his bronze in the -90kg category in London. Sam is on good form having won silver at the 2010 IBSA World Championships and gold at the 2011 European Championships. He’s likely to face tough competition, however, from Russia’s Oleg Kretsul, the reigning Paralympic and World Champion, though Sam beat him at the 2011 European Championships.

Having narrowly missed out on qualification for Beijing 2008, Joe Ingram, who won silver at the 2010 World Championships in the +100kg category will also hope to shine at home.

Brazil’s Antonio Tenorio da Silva, who has won gold in various different weight categories in the last four Paralympics, is one to watch for the -100kg category. The star of the film “B1” won bronze at the 2010 World Championships and will face tough competition from Korea’s Gwang Geun Choi and Iran’s Hamid Alizade who beat him there.

The women’s -70kg and +70kg also take place on 1 September.

Judo demonstration during the International Paralympic Day

Judo demonstration during the International Paralympic Day

Judo: 12 Facts for London 2012

The only martial art on the Paralympic programme, Judo’s one-on-one battles can be tough, tense and explosive, as competitors grapple against determined opponents.

www.london2012.com © • www.london2012.com
By IPC

"At the Paralympic Games, the main difference from other top-level Judo competition is that judoka are allowed to have contact with their opponent before each contest begins to orientate themselves."

Here is a list of 12 interesting things you should know about Judo for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

1. Who? What? Where? When?

From Thursday 30 August to Saturday 1 September, 84 men and 48 women will compete in 13 medal events at ExCeL.

2. History

Developed from jujitsu and established as a sport in the late 19th century by Dr Jigoro Kano in Japan, Judo was included as a competitive sport at the Paralympic Games for the first time in Seoul in 1988. At Athens in 2004, women’s weight categories were included for the first time.

3. Japanese origins

All terms in the sport are Japanese, reflecting its origins. The referee gets the contest underway by shouting ‘Hajime!’ and stops it by shouting ‘Matte!’

4. Equipment

Judo contests are fought on a mat, or tatami. The contest area is 8m x 8m, with a 1m safety area all the way around.

5. Rules

Contests last five minutes, with scores awarded for throws, holds, armlocks and strangles . The athlete or judoka who scores the higher amount of points wins.

6. Immediate wins

The contest stops immediately if one judoka achieves ippon – the maximum score, two waza-ari (a lower score), or if the opponent either submits or is disqualified. If the scores are tied after five minutes, the contest enters a golden score period, when the first score of any sort wins.

7. Other scores

The scores of waza-ari and yuko depend on how the opponent lands upon being thrown, and how long a judoka can immobilise their opponent on their back.

8. Competition format

All of the Judo events at the London 2012 Paralympic Games will be played in a knockout format with double repechage, and will end with two finalists going head to head in the gold medal contest.

9. Classification

The sport is open to athletes with visual impairments in seven weight categories for men and six for women. Men compete in -60kg, -66kg, -73kg, -81kg, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg. Women compete in -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg, -70kg and +70kg.

10. Ones to watch

Two athletes to watch at London 2012 include Venezuelan Naomi Soazo who won gold in the -63kg category in Beijing 2008, and Brazil’s Antonio Tenorio, who has won gold in various different weight categories at every Paralympic Games since Atlanta 1996.

11. Body contact

At the Paralympic Games, the main difference from other top-level Judo competition is that judoka are allowed to have contact with their opponent before each contest begins to orientate themselves.

12. Governing Body

Judo is governed by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) and follows the rules of the International Judo Federation (IJF) with modifications.

USA Names London 2012 Judo Team

Six visually impaired athletes were selected to USA’s Judo team at the nation’s trials in Irving, Texas.

a picture of 2 athletes competing in a judo match Jordan Mouton of the USA (Blue) competes in the Judo -70kg match against Maria del Carmen Herrera of Spain. © • Getty Images

“We are excited to have such a great group of athletes.”

Six athletes were nominated to USA’s Judo team for London 2012 on Sunday (22 April) at the nation’s trials in Irving, Texas.

Visually impaired athletes Myles Porter (100kg) and Jordan Mouton (57kg division) headline the team.

Porter finished a disappointing fifth at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, but has since won bronze at the 2010 World Championships. He then went on to claim gold at the 2011 Parapan American Games after a shocking win over four-time Paralympic gold medallist Antonio Tenorio of Brazil.

Mouton was a world champion in the women’s 63kg division in 2009 and represented USA at the Beijing 2008 Games. Katie Davis (+76kg), Ron Hawthorne (60kg), Chistella Garcia (70kg) and Dartanyon Crockett (90kg) also earned the right to compete in London.

“We are excited to have such a great group of athletes,” said head coach Scott Moore. “We are looking forward to training hard and bringing home medals for the US. This is the largest team the US has fielded for the Paralympics since 2000, and it is the first time we have qualified more than one weight for the women.”

Eddie Liddie, an Olympic bronze medallist and USA Judo’s Director of High Performance said it is possible that USA could also qualify to send a judoka in a seventh division.

Myles Porter

Myles Porter

Jordan Mouton

Jordan Mouton

Brazilian Paralympic Committee Attends Reatech

The Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB) will attend the 11th edition of the International Fair of Technologies in Rehabilitation, Inclusion and Accessibility, Reatech at the Immigrants Convention Centre in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 12-15 April.

the Brazilian Paralympic Committee's stand Brazilian Paralympic Committee's area during the International Fair of Technologies in Rehabilitation, Inclusion and Accessibility © • Reatech

“We want to take this opportunity to strengthen ties with the Paralympic Movement in general, not just with sports."

With a 234 square metre stand located in the heart of the Convention Centre, the CPB will provide visitors more information about Paralympic sports including Judo, Sitting Volleyball, Football 5-a-side and Goalball. Visitors will get the chance to meet with some of the biggest names in Paralympic Sport in Brazil, including Paralympic and world champion sprinter Terezinha Guilhermina and multiple Paralympic gold medallist in Swimming, Andre Brasil.

Andrew Parsons, President of the CPB, said: "Reatech gives us a great dialogue with various organizations dealing with people with disabilities in Brazil.

“We want to take this opportunity to strengthen ties with the Paralympic Movement in general, not just with sports. Our participation will be intense, with more activities than before. We are in 2012, but already looking forward to the next few years.”

Another attraction of the CPB stand will be the logo of the 2016 Paralympic Games in 3D, the same that was used at the launch ceremony of the Paralympic logo in November 2011.

"Our stand was one of the most popular last year, with people queuing up to learn more about the adapted sports in Brazil. We will have a very visual stand in 2012, aiming at the London Games.

“Interactivity is our main feature. We will have touchscreens within our space. The exterior will be all LED, displaying the event’s programme, as well as pictures and videos of athletes,” Parsons said.

In addition, the Wheelchair Fencing Brazilian Cup will be held during Reatech, and promises to be one of the highlights of the fair. Amongst the athletes confirmed to take part in the competition is Jovane Guissone, who, at the end of January, won an unprecedented silver medal for Brazil during the World Cup in Germany.

The Fair is the largest one of its kind in Latin America, with 300 exhibitors. About 50,000 people are expected during the four days event, which also takes place in India, Russia, Italy and China.

ParalympicsGB Selects Band of Brothers

Three sets of brothers were amongst 20 athletes to be selected to represent ParalympicsGB in Boccia, Judo and Powerlifting at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Person playing Boccia Stephen McGuire and his brother Peter have both been selected to represent ParalympicsGB © • GBBoccia

“The results at these major events are real indicator of the potential of the team to succeed in London.”

The British Paralympic Association announced the names of nine boccia players, five judoka and six powerlifters on Wednesday (11 April) who will represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The line-up included the Ingram and Powell brothers in Judo and the Macguire brothers in Boccia.

Sam Ingram won Paralympic bronze in Beijing which spurred on his brother Joe to return to the sport. Meanwhile brothers Dan and Marc Powell have both been selected for their first Games, but are no strangers to the Paralympics as their father Terry Powell competed in both Seoul and Atlanta. The squad is completed by Ben Quilter, current European and World Champion in the -60kg category.

“All players have worked tremendously hard to gain selection to London 2012 and have amassed a fantastic haul of medals on the World and European stage during the qualification period,” said Dave Sanders, Team Leader for Judo.

“The results at these major events are real indicator of the potential of the team to succeed in London.”

The Boccia brothers of Peter and Stephen McGuire will compete in the BC3 and BC4 events, and are part of a nine-strong squad that includes reigning Paralympic gold medallists in the BC1/BC2 Team event Nigel Murray, David Smith, Dan Bentley and Zoe Robinson. Jessica Hunter, Scott McCowan and Jacob Thomas were also selected.

“GB Boccia is very confident that the selected athletes will do ParalympicsGB proud in London,” said Matt Hammond, Team Leader for GB Boccia.

“With GB ranked in the World top three in five of the seven events and with rapidly developing athletes in the BC3 class we should be competitive across the board.”

Since 2008, GB Boccia has focussed on consolidating strong performances in Beijing in the BC1 and BC2 categories while also extending the squad to include top BC3 and BC4 athletes. BC4 is for athletes that have impairments other than cerebral palsy and BC3 is for athletes who use a ramp to play the sport.

Part of this recruitment has been done through the joint UK Sport and British Paralympic Association talent search, Paralympic Potential, which was launched in 2009 and identified Jessica Hunter and Jacob Thomas, who both then went through the GB Boccia Fast Track programme.

In Powerlifting, the six-strong squad includes world record holder Anthony Peddle, who is selected for his seventh Paralympic Games.

The Powerlifting team has also been consolidating their squad since Beijing, and powerlifters have attended all three of the BPA preparation camps at the University of Bath as part of developing their athletes for London 2012.

“We are delighted that all four athletes who represented Great Britain in Beijing have qualified for London 2012 in addition to one or two new athletes,” said Fiona Lothian, Team Leader for British Weightlifting.

“Our experience of the BPA preparation camps has convinced us that this will be the best place to put the finishing touches to our Games preparation. With the home crowd behind us I am convinced we can build on our recent performances to deliver good results in London.”

Today’s announcement brings the current total of ParalympicsGB athletes for London 2012 to 80 – nearly a third of the anticipated eventual team size.

The full list of athletes is:

Judo

Sam Ingram

Joe Ingram

Dan Powell

Marc Powell

Ben Quilter

Boccia

Dan Bentley

Jessica Hunter

Scott McCowan

Peter McGuire

Stephen McGuire

Nigel Murray

Zoe Robinson

David Smith

Jacob Thomas

Powerlifting

Natalie Blake

Paul Efayena

Jason Irving

Ali Jawad

Zoe Newson

Anthony Peddle