female judoka Lenia Ruvalcaba

Lenia Fabiola Ruvalcaba Alvarez


There is only one title left for Lenia Ruvalcaba to win: the Judo World Championships. She had high expectations for Odivelas 2018 but will have to wait four more years as she was beaten by Uzbekistan’s Asian champion Vasila Aliboeva in the semi-finals.

The Mexican recovered to beat Azerbaijan’s Zulfiyya Huseynova for bronze.

Earlier in 2018, Ruvalcaba won gold in the women’s up to 70kg at the Pan American Championships in Calgary, Canada, following a victory over USA’s Rio 2016 bronze medallist Christella Garcia.

Ruvalcaba made her Paralympic debut at Beijing 2008, taking silver after losing to Spanish legend Carmen Herrera in the final.

Three years later, she again climbed onto the second step of the podium, this time at the Guadalajara 2011 Parapan American Games.

An early defeat at the London 2012 Paralympics left her hugely disappointed and with no chance of fighting for a medal. But Ruvalcaba always believed the best was yet to come.

She took bronze at the 2014 World Championships in Colorado Springs, USA, before going on to win the Parapan American title in Toronto, Canada, a year later.

It was in 2016 that she could finally fulfil her biggest dream.

Ruvalcaba took home the Paralympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro against local hope Alana Martins and in front of a loud Brazilian crowd that never stopped cheering for her rival. She was Mexico’s first female judoka to win gold at an Olympic or Paralympic Games.


Unit Date Rank
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's -70 kg Quarterfinal 303
Women's -70 kg Semifinal 202
Women's -70 kg Final 101
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's -70 kg Quarterfinal 2012-09-01 303
Women's -70 kg Semifinal 2012-09-01 202
Women's -70 kg Bronze Medal Match 2012-09-01 102
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's -70 kg Final 2016-09-10 1
Women's -70 kg Semifinal 2016-09-10 2
Women's -70 kg Quarterfinal 2016-09-10 3
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (Tokyo, Japan)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's -70 kg Bronze Medal Matches 2021-08-29 1
Women's -70 kg Repechage Finals 2021-08-29 1
Women's -70 kg Quarterfinal 2021-08-29 3