France’s Sandrine Martinet could be forgiven for taking it easy after she won a long-awaited Paralympic gold at Rio 2016.
But the 35-year-old has confirmed that she is aiming high at the 2018 IBSA Judo World Championships in Odivelas, Portugal, from 13-16 November and further ahead to Tokyo 2020.
Martinet secured gold in the women’s up to 52kg in Rio – her fourth Paralympics. Dropping to her knees and clenching her fists as she looked upwards, it came after two silvers from Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 and a fifth place at London 2012.
Now competing in the up to 48kg, Martinet had a two year break after finally grabbing Paralympic glory in Rio to spend time with her children and husband. She is also a physiotherapist and took the chance to return to her work for a time.
The double European medallist is still driven by winning even after a hiatus:
“If the injuries leave me alone I have all my chances at the World Championships. And I want to score maximum points,” she said.
Credit: OIS Photos
In 2018 the Frenchwoman made her comeback at the IBSA Judo World Cup in Atyrau, Kazakhstan. She was the victor once again.
“I came back to win but I did not necessarily think to win this World Cup,” she said. “The conditions were not necessarily favourable in terms of my preparation for this competition but the experience and the will helped me to win. With probably the surprise effect of the change of category.”
For the Worlds in Odivelas, Martinet said it would be “interesting and a new challenge” to try and win the up to 48kg title.
She will face the likes of Paralympic and world champion Li Liqing of China as well as Germany’s Carmen Brussig, another regular podium finisher at major events.
Looking further ahead, Odivelas also offers judoka the chance to grab points towards the world rankings. These will be used to determine who qualifies for Tokyo 2020.
Martinet is already thinking about the chance to compete at her fifth Paralympics and stand on top of the podium again. A victory would be even sweeter in the birthplace of judo.
“The goal is gold in Tokyo. The way will be long and difficult but I am confident if my body is good!” she said.
“I still have dreams and Tokyo, Japan, for judokas is important. I'm still hungry for victory.”
The 2018 IBSA Judo World Championships will feature nearly 400 of the world’s best judoka from more than 30 countries.
All competitions will be shown live at IBSA’s YouTube
channel and IBSA Judo’s Facebook page.
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