By Rocio Sanchez Diaz | For IBSA
Germany’s four-time Paralympian Ramona Brussig is looking ahead to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with optimism.
The 41-year-old is one of the most experienced judoka on the circuit and has medalled at every single Paralympics since Athens 2004, including two golds.
In 2018 Brussig proved she is still amongst the best in the world, taking silver in the women’s up to 52kg at the IBSA Judo World Championships in Odivelas, Portugal.
Reflecting on last season the German recognised that winning a medal 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.”
Looking ahead to 2019 which will feature a European Championships and several Grand Prix, Brussing 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 cooperation 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.”
Brussig, who has a twin sister Carmen who also competes in judo, started the sport at the age of eight by chance. Back then she could not imagine that she would become one of her country’s most prolific athletes.
“It was a friend who took me and my sister to a training. So we tried out judo for the first time together and it impressed us from the beginning,” Brussig said. “The versatility that this sport brings to us is the main reason I still practice Judo.”
There was also a choice to be made early on in her career: “We played chess at the same time but the competitions overlapped very often, so we had to choose between chess and judo. We finally decided on judo.”
Far from believing her age is a disadvantage, 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.”
The World Championships fired the starting gun on qualification for Tokyo 2020. From now on, every step counts and Brussig is in the hunt once again for a ticket to the Paralympic 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.”
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 IBSA Judo and Goalball International Qualifier.