By Victoria Donu | For IBSA
The year of 2018 was a successful one for many judoka including those who are relatively new on the international scene.
Georgia’s Giorgi Gamjashvili made his debut in 2017 and just one year later he had reached the podium with bronze from the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo World Cup in Atyrau, Kazkahstan, and IBSA Judo World Championship in Odivelas, Portugal, in the men’s up to 66kg.
Now the relative newcomer has confidence he can improve.
“It was for the first time winning a medal and it felt great. I am satisfied with the result, but I know I can do even better,” Gamjashvili said. “Everybody at home was happy and excited. Nevertheless, I dream to get the gold medal at some point.”
All efforts are now geared towards preparation for 2019 season and motivation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“I am currently preparing for the judo Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan. Also, I plan to participate in the European Championship in Genova, Italy. I do look forward to these events and to obtain good results.
“My goal is to obtain better results than in the previous year but in order to do that I need special training. I need to improve my technical skills. I saw how other athletes are performing thus I have a good understanding of where I need to focus more.”
One of Gamjashvili’s biggest inspirations is teammate Zviad Gogotchuri, the Paralympic champion from Rio 2016.
Gogotchuri is a prominent figure with multiple medals from various Championships in the men’s up to 90kg and up to 100kg.
“Zviad has a lot of experience and shares it with us. He is always supportive and is always next to us,” Gamjashvili said. “I look up to him and we have training camps together. He is a great athlete and I learn a lot from him.”
Gamjashvili started judo when he was 10 years old. He trained intensively and soon realised he would like to do it professionally. His support team provide the best advice and guidance however the main force comes from within.
“Generally, the coaches do their best to motivate you but mainly it depends on how you feel. Self-motivation is the most important aspect, I believe.”
Qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games will be based on European, Asian and American Championships and Grand Prix results. Therefore athletes need to perform well to secure themselves a spot.
“I hope to get to Tokyo but I know I still have to train a lot and obtain better results. If I get a license for the Paralympic Games I will do my best to bring a medal home,” Gamjashvili said.
“Due to the results obtained last year, I feel more comfortable that I would be able to get it. I trust myself and I know I will work hard for it. Getting a medal would be a dream come true.”
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.