Ramona Brussig is looking ahead to Tokyo 2020 with optimism and excitement. The German is one of the most experienced judokas on the circuit and has medalled at every single Paralympics since Athens 2004, including two golds and two silvers.
Now, Brussig is in the hunt once again for a ticket to the Games, which this time will have a special meaning.
“I think the Paralympics in Tokyo is a dream for every judoka. It is the motherland of judo and it would be a highlight, especially if my sister Carmen and I can do it together.”
Reflecting on last season, she recognised that winning silver in the up to 52kg at the World Championships did not satisfy her completely.
“Overall, I can be happy with the results,” Brussig said. “I was able to present myself well and had a good performance. There are much younger judokas than me. Nevertheless, the expectations of the coaches and the professionals around this sport are very high.”
Consistency the key
Looking into 2019, which will feature a European Championships and several Grand Prix, Brussig is focusing her efforts on building strength.
She will do her best to collect qualification points that could open the door to the 2020 Paralympics and improve on her bronze medal from the last Euros in 2017.
Her secret is none other than consistency and the trust she has developed with her coach after years working hand-in-hand:
“There is an excellent co-operation between my home trainer and me as an athlete. We work very well together, especially in the technical and tactical area, as well as in the power we are currently working for the next highlights.”
Far from believing her age is a disadvantage, 41-year-old Brussig points out that it is a huge plus point, along with her physical strength: “I think the years of experience at an international level give me an advantage. Also, I have always been consistent throughout my judo career, despite many injuries and operations.”
Facing the future with her feet firmly on the ground, Brussig remains positive: “I'm not the youngest anymore. It's going to be hard because the field is very tight. But a medal in Tokyo would certainly be a beautiful ending.”
The 2019 IBSA Judo European Championships will take place in Genova, Italy, from 26-28 July. Before then, the Grand Prix season will get underway on 10 May in Baku, Azerbaijan.
A further opportunity to qualify for Tokyo 2020 will also be on offer in Fort Wayne, USA, at the 2019 Judo and Goalball International Qualifier.