“During the competition, one second of distraction can knock you out, we need to be focused all the time, this is what makes the sport unique.”
Four years ago at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, the Brazilian judoka Antonio Tenorio overcame Azerbaijan’s Karim Sardarov by ippon to take gold. In claiming victory, Tenorio became the first person to win four consecutive gold medals in Paralympic Judo.
The Paralympic legend has over 30 years of experience in the sport, and he’s determined to keep on going until the Games in his home country in four years time.
“I dream of the podium once again in London,” said the 41-year-old. “My goal is to be top three in the world.
“If I achieve this it will be a sign that I’ll be ready for the Games in Rio 2016.”
To achieve this goal, Tenorio, who currently competes in the -100 kg category, has been training with the judokas of the Brazilian national team.
“My training is very intense, I'm training four hours a day,” he said.
“I'll start competing in June so I can prepare myself and reach the best shape ever on my way to London to compete for another Paralympic medal.”
With the level of competition at an all-time high, Tenorio knows that he needs to stay focused and mentally strong.
“We train for four years to be on at dojô of the Paralympic Games,” he said. “During the competition, one second of distraction can knock you out, we need to be focused all the time, this is what makes the sport unique.”
Tenorio most recently won silver at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, falling short to USA’s Myles Porter in the fight for the top spot.
“I respect Myles and all my opponents too,” said the Brazilian.
“I have beaten him a few times and lost others. It is a balanced confrontation.”
In 2009, the athlete shot to fame as the star of a documentary shown in Brazilian cinemas. The movie “B1”, named after his class, shows how Tenorio, who lost his sight aged 13, became one of the most respected and successful Paralympians in Brazil.
The film is still aired widely in Brazil and has become a symbol for the Paralympic Movement.
“It’s something that makes me very happy and adds value to all people who are part of the Paralympic Movement. I'm very grateful for the work I’ve been doing the last 20 years.”
The documentary has also given Tenorio other opportunities and raised his profile around the world.
“In London, after the Paralympic Games, I will be the first Brazilian to give a lecture at the Royce Gracie's Academy, founder of the Ultimate Fighting Championship [UFC] and master of Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art in which I'm an expert too.”
Tenorio will compete in the -100kg judo category at ExCeL on 1 September 2012.