In 2011, at the age of 20, Brazilian Judoka Wilians Araújo finished last at the IBSA World Games in Antalya, Turkey.
One fight. That was all it took to end the participation of the promising Judoka in his first major event.
The walk to the mat was long, and before he even stepped into the fight, Araujo was so happy the tears streamed down his face.
The crying did not stop during the five minutes of the fight against Russian Osman Akaev - winner with a Yuko. The fact is still alive in the memory of Araujo, who remembers the situation and recognises that the emotional side ended up harming his performance.
"The main memory is of the fight that I ended up losing to a Russian. I did everything to win and in the end he managed to give me a Yuko. We fought five minutes and I could not reverse that. My psychological part was very unbalanced at the time, it was very emotional. I remember when I went to fight, I came in crying. I walked down the aisle toward the mat and came in crying. Perhaps it was this excessive emotion that kept me from moving forward. I cried during the whole fight. Sometimes I remember this situation and I see how much I've evolved," Araujo recalled.
Seven years after competing in his first international competition, the heavyweight returns to the city for the IBSA Judo World Cup as the World No.1 and a Paralympic medallist in the +100kg.
His achievements are now a motivation for Araujo. Now as one of the world’s best Judoka, he wants to write a new story in Antalya, this time with a happy ending.
"Winning a medal will have a special taste. I want to get there and conquer what seven years ago did not come. It is a wonderful city and I left there in the last place. Today I go to fight for a medal and God willing it will be all right.”
Even with his good chances in Turkey, Araújo has even bigger ambitions and thinks about the icing on the cake: the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. He wants to add more points to stay at the top of the world rankings to confirm his place on the team.
"It is part of my planning in the cycle to win medals in all competitions. I feel an immense responsibility, but I believe in the work being done. I want to be on the podium again and add points in the ranking to achieve the position at the Tokyo Paralympics,” Araujo said.
Araujo travels to Antalya alongside Alana Maldonado, Antônio Tenório, Lúcia Araújo, Rebeca Silva and Thiego Marques, plus coaches Alexandre Garcia and Jaime Bragança.
The 2018 IBSA Judo World Cup runs from 22-23 April. Results and a livestream are available here.