Lenia Ruvalcaba targets continental success

Mexican Paralympic judo champion kicks off season at Pan American Championship 12 Apr 2018
a female Para judoka jumps in the air in celebration

Paralympic champion Lenia Ruvalcaba

ⒸWagner Meier

"I am very aware that it will be a cycle with many surprises. Apart from being the rival to beat, then you have to be strong to maintain the level.”

Mexico’s Rio 2016 Paralympic Games champion Lenia Ruvalcaba will open her 2018 calendar at the IBSA Judo Pan American Championship on 20 May in Calgary, Canada.

Before then Ruvalcaba, who is currently training at the Villas Tlalpan of the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sports (CONADE), will travel to the USA for a preparation camp at the University of San Jose in California.

"Now we start, after almost a year-and-a-half without competing, we return with all our spirits, we already have a good pace. At the Pan Americans will be Brazil, the United States and maybe Venezuela,” she said.

“My category in the Americas does not have many competitors, but you can have surprises, because each cycle there is more. I know that new talents will emerge and we must be prepared for everything.”

The women’s -70kg Toronto 2015 gold medallist considers Calgary 2018 to be the first step on her road to successfully defending her Parapan title next year.

"It will be like starting to measure ourselves for Lima 2019. We have about a-year-and-a-half. With this competition the cycle for Lima and Tokyo 2020 begins, everyone is getting ready. I am very aware that it will be a cycle with many surprises. Apart from being the rival to beat, then you have to be strong to maintain the level.”

Ruvalcaba explained that after training in San Jose, she will make the journey to Calgary where she will be joined by fellow Paralympic champion Eduardo Avila and Abraham Ortiz.

They will continue their preparations for the Parapans and the 2020 Paralympics with another training camp.

“I am very happy, the team is growing little by little too, so now we are not alone with Eduardo Avila and myself. The expectation is that we will train with a team of five and at the Pan Americans three of us will compete," Ruvalcaba said.

The Mexican is also focused on the biggest competition of 2018.

"We will continue with the alternating training at Villas Tlalpan CONADE and at UNAM, under the instructions of Professor Hilario. The IBSA Judo World Championship in November of this year in Lisbon, Portugal, will be my main focus.”

The 2018 IBSA Judo Pan American Championships take place on 20 May.

The 2018 IBSA Judo World Championships run from 16-18 November. The competition is a crucial stop on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Lima 2019 will be held between 23 August and 1 September and will feature a record 1,850 athletes who will compete across 17 sports.