Judo: Day three previewCarioca crowd favourite Antonio Tenorio is going for his fifth judo gold in his final Paralympics. 10 Sep 2016
Expect the loudest cheer of the week so far in Carioca Arena 3 when Brazil’s four-time Paralympic champion Antonio Tenorio takes to the tatami on Saturday (10 September).
The 45-year-old won four consecutive Paralympic gold medals before taking bronze at London 2012.
Now the Brazilian is hoping for a return to the top of the podium on home soil at what will be his last Paralympic Games.
For Rio 2016 Tenorio is again stepping up to up to 100kg category, having previously competed in the up to 86kg and up to 90kg categories.
Looking to prevent a dream ending to Tenorio’s remarkable career will be Uzbekistan’s Shirin Sharipov. Currently world champion, Sharipov is aiming establish his position as world number one on the biggest stage of all.
Also competing in the up to 100kg category is Turkey’s Ibrahim Bolukbasi, who is in the unique position of having already competed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games last month. At the Olympics, Bolukbasi competed in the 97kg freestyle wrestling competition.
Another gold medal hope for Brazil comes in the men’s over 100kg competition, where Wilians Araujo is the current world No. 1.
Araujo goes into the event as a fighter in form having won his past two events – the Open Championships in Heidelberg, Germany, in February and the Grand Prix event in Birmingham, England, in June.
His main challenge to the title will come from Azerbaijan’s London 2012 bronze medallist Ilham Zakiyev, who says he is ready for a tough test.
“I feel a lot of responsibility and I will try to do what is expected of me,” Zakiyev said.
“We judokas trained really well with the Olympic team ahead of the Paralympics and now it’s like an exam at the end of four years.”
In the up to 90kg category there are several serious contenders for gold. Among them is Great Britain’s Sam Ingram, who is looking to go one better than the silver he won at London 2012.
To take gold Ingram will likely have to overcome rival Zviad Gogotchuri. The Georgian has beaten Ingram in their previous two encounters, most notably at the 2015 European Championships.
Another up to 90kg judoka to watch out for is the USA’s Dartanyon Crockett. A bronze-medal winner at London 2012, Crockett is already picturing himself back on the podium in Rio.
“I visualise winning a medal all the time,” Crockett explained. “I visualise every match, what happens if I win, what happens if I lose.
“I want to fight as best I can, leave everything on the mat. Of course I’m going for gold, but if for any reason that doesn't happen I want to be comfortable with my results.”
In the women’s over 70kg event all eyes will be on China’s Yuan Yuanping. Having claimed Beijing 2008 and London 2012 golds, Yuanping is going for a third consecutive Paralympic title in Brazil. Hoping to end her winning streak will be Turkey’s European Champion Mesme Tasbag and Belarus’s world number one Arina Kachan.
There is guaranteed to be a new Paralympic champion in the women’s over 70kg competition following the retirement of Spain’s three-time gold medallist Carmen Herrera.
Favourite to take Herrera’s place at the top of the podium is Hungary’s 2014 World Champion Nikolett Szabo, though she is not the only one looking to claim the vacant throne. Mexico’s reigning Parapan American champion Lenia Ruvalcaba will also fancy her chances.