The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo has announced that Georgia’s former judoka Esther Stam will commentate on the livestream of the 2018 World Championships in Odivelas, Portugal, from 16-18 November.
Stam retired in 2017 from a career that included the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a silver medal at the 2016 European Championships and various Grand Prix podiums.
The 31-year-old began her commentary career at the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix in Zagreb, Croatia, in July. Stam also commentated at September’s 2018 IJF World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The Georgian’s involvement in the IBSA Judo World Championships is thanks to a new Memorandum of Understanding signed between the IJF and IBSA in Baku. It includes support for the promotion of blind and visually impaired judo.
Stam has experience of Para judo having been a training partner of Dutch judoka Sanneke Vermeulen ahead of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. She is excited about being involved once again.
“That's the first time that I learned about Paralympic judo and also other sports,” Stam said of her experience. “It was a great experience for me, because I found really hard working people that don't let having a visual impairment stop them from achieving anything they want in life. It was a life lesson for me, to not let anything stop you if you really want something and also to keep positive whatever happens. It will make your life better.
“It's really nice to come back. I am very curious in how IBSA Judo developed for the last ten years - that's a long time. With the way judo developed in general and is developing I am sure it will be amazing.”
Stam said she is also looking forward to seeing the very best athletes compete:
“As a judoka I know how it is to compete at a high level and to really go for it. And that's what I really like to see. Judoka that will go until the end and give all they got. The happiness that comes when you fought really hard and come away with a win is the best feeling. It's great to see that emotion in judoka.”
Odivelas 2018 is expected to attract nearly 300 athletes from more than 40 countries. These include a huge number of world, regional and Paralympic champions.
The live coverage will be shown on IBSA Judo’s Facebook page
and IBSA’s YouTube channel
from 10am (CET) each day.
As well as the titles on offer, the competition is part of the qualification process for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Athletes will be able to secure points towards the world rankings, which will determine who will go to the Paralympics.
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