Three to watch at European Judo Championship 2015

Ukraine’s Khorava and Cherniak could bring double gold back to their country. 27 Nov 2015
Sam Ingram competing

Sam Ingram (GBR) competing at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games

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By Michael Stuart | For the IPC

The region’s top visually impaired judokas will take on each other at the International Blind Sport Federation (IBSA) European Judo Championship 2015, which begin Friday (27 November) in Odivelas, Portugal.

Around 110 athletes from 20 countries will compete, with the Championship being the final qualification opportunity for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. It is the first judo event for visually impaired athletes ever to be held in Portugal.

Here are the top three athletes to watch for:

David Khorava, Ukraine

Since winning gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Khorova has struggled to regain top form. Competing in the men’s under 66kg category, the Ukrainian has not won a major title since.

Khorova won bronze at the World Cup event in Eger, Hungary, at the start of the year and again at the IBSA World Games in Seoul, South Korea, in May. Despite the lull, Khorova said he is confident in defending his Paralympic title. In Odivelas, he will have the chance to prove just that.

Sam Ingram, Great Britain

The Great British judo squad are hoping to send a strong field to Rio 2016. Among the British, Ingram is likely to take a title at the European Championship.

The experienced under 90kg judoka took silver at London 2012 and at the World Games, where he was narrowly beaten by Georgia’s Zviad Gogochuri in the final. The two will likely meet in Odivelas, and Ingram will have to find a way to beat the Georgian if he wants to leave with gold.

Inna Cherniak, Ukraine

Ukraine’s Inna Cherniak heads to Portugal as the favourite to take the European title in the women’s under 57kg classification. Cherniak narrowly missed out on gold at the World Games, losing to South Korea’s Ha Na Seo. Against European opposition, the world No. 1 will be confident of going one better.

Cherniak already won at the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, in June.

For more information about IBSA European Judo Championship 2015, visit the event website.