Three to watch at European Judo Championship 201527.11.2015
Ukraine’s Khorava and Cherniak could bring double gold back to their country.
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 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.