- Date: 23-07-2019
- Related to: Judo
Romania’s European champion and Paralympic bronze medallist Alexandru Bologa has his sights set on another regional medal when the 2019 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo European Championships get underway in Genova, Italy, on 26 July.
Bologa has been a consistent top finisher since making it onto the men’s up to 60kg podium on his Paralympic debut at Rio 2016. One year later he won gold at the Euros in Walsall, Great Britain.
But these two medals were just the start for the B1 judoka, who lost his sight at the age of six and began judo when he was 16. Indeed the 23-year-old has achieved a medal in every competition he has competed at in the last three years.
“I really believe that my judo skills improved [since Rio 2016], which gives me more confidence and I progressed technically and got more experience in competitions,” Bologa said.
“There were a few changes to my training methods that improves my skills for competitions and helps me develop more stamina and strength for competitions.”
Bologa is in great form heading into the European Championships having won gold at the International Qualifier in Fort Wayne, USA, earlier in July. The competition offered points in the world rankings which will go towards qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“Of course I am very happy for this gold medal for qualifications to Tokyo 2020 and it gives me confidence also for the European Championship for a good result.”
Does he consider a ‘good’ result to be golden in colour again?
“Yes, this would be the main aim for this year, but just winning a medal would be extraordinary for me.”
The men’s up to 60kg, like all weight categories, features a tough field of athletes.
In Genova, Bologa could face the two bronze medallists from two years ago, Turkey’s Recep Ciftci and Germany’s Schugga Nashwan. Outside of that big challenges also await in the form of Uzbekistan’s Paralympic champion Sherzod Namozov and Kazakhstan’s world title holder Olzhas Orazalyuly.
But Bologa has already proved he can take on the big names – and win. In Fort Wayne he beat Orazalyuly via ippon in the gold medal match.
With several great performances under his belt, Bologa is focused on the big prize. A podium in Tokyo is the dream, underpinned by a quiet confidence and self-belief.
“This is my wish to win another medal, doesn't really matter the colour of it. It would be very important for me to be on that podium in Tokyo, and I think since Rio my judo improved in many ways, so for sure I will try to achieve this aim.”
The 2019 IBSA Judo European Championships are the first regional competition to take place in 2019-2020. All three days of action from 26-28 July will be shown live on IBSA Judo’s Facebook page and IBSA’s YouTube channel.
Asian and Oceania Championships in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, follow from 6-8 September. The Americas Championships will be staged in Montreal, Canada, on 12 January.
In addition, judoka will line-up for the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games in Peru and several Grand Prix events. All offer world ranking points which will determine qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.