Brazil’s Alana Maldonado is targeting a title on her IBSA Judo World Championships debut in Odivelas, Portugal, in November to add to her Paralympic silver from Rio 2016.
Speaking with two years to go until the next Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, Maldonado was in a buoyant mood about the Worlds.
“I look forward to this very important Championship for me, I will do my best to be champion,” she said.
The World Championships will be held from 16-18 November and offers points towards qualification for Tokyo 2020.
Maldonado is also conscious that they represent the best chance to assess her competition.
“It is the strongest Championship in the cycle before Tokyo, in which the categories are complete, where several fights will be held, where we will have a parameter for Tokyo,” she said.
Having been inspired to start judo at the age of four, influenced by her Grandmother and family, Maldonado has a deep passion for the sport.
The chance to compete at a Paralympics in Japan, the birthplace of judo, is, for Maldonado, equal to competing at a home Paralympic Games.
“Japan is the land of judo and just as it was sensational to compete in Rio with my whole family, it will be sensational to compete where judo was born,” she said.
With the women’s up to 70kg being highly competitive, Maldonado believes that all of her opponents will be difficult to beat.
At Rio 2016 the Brazilian lost to Mexico’s Lenia Ruvalcaba, the bronze medallist from the 2014 IBSA Judo World Championships.
Earlier in 2018 she claimed second place at the IBSA Judo World Cup in Antalya, Turkey. Maldonado was beaten to first by Russia’s Olga Zabrodskaya but showed that two years out from Rio 2016, she is still able to challenge for the podium.
“It's a sport that I love to do, and I do not see myself doing anything other than judo,”
Maldonado said. “It is my life. I have improved that every day. I overcome obstacles and am always trying to give my best.”
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
will feature 4,400 athletes who will compete in 537 medal events in 22 sports between 25 August – 6 September.
Judo will see nearly 140 athletes compete for honours in 13 weight categories.