62OLYMPIC REVIEWOLYMPIC SOLIDARITYHow did you get started in judo?My older brother had started to train, and I was jealous of him. I didn't want him to be stronger thanme so I begged my parents to let me try! Eventuallythey gave in, and so it all began. I'm now 17 years old and competing in junior competitions in the 57kg category. What are the main attributes needed to be asuccessful judoka?There are various strengths you need and, of course,people are all different, but my guess is that everyjudoka needs to be mentally tough. That is one of themost important things in this sport. How is the Olympic Solidarity scholarship assistingyour training and Olympic dreams?Thanks to the Olympic Solidarity scholarship I can takepart in more events across Europe and even in otherparts of the world. I can now afford to travel to trainingcamps, which I was not able to do previously - thismeans my preparation is much better for competitionsand I can achieve better results.What is your training programme like?I train with both the girls and boys at my judo club -most are older competitors though some are a similarage to me. I train twice daily. Morning training consistsof running, strength exercises and judo practice on the mats. In the afternoon, I concentrate on exercisetechnique, agility and the mental side of things - howto concentrate during a bout. Three times a week I go to aerobics classes and once a week I do heavyweights in the gym.Have you set yourself any targets for the Games in London?Assuming I achieve the required number of points toqualify for the Olympic Games, then you can be surethat I want to win a medal in such an important event.Although I am only young, I think that I can representmy country with honour.Have you been to London before?No, I have not had a chance to visit the city but I hopeto go there in the near future and if not, then definitelynext year for the Olympic Games.What goals, if any, have you set yourself for your career? I would like to be somebody that my country can beproud of, and to enjoy as long a career in this sport aspossible. I wish that in 10 years' time my name will be synonymous with the sport of judo!Who were your Olympic heroes or role modelswhen you were growing up? At first I did not have any role models but since I started as a judoka with dreams of competing in the Olympic Games, Teddy Rinner of France - who has won the World Championships for the last three years - has become one of my biggest role models.
OLYMPIC REVIEW63OLYMPIC SOLIDARITYHow are your preparations progressing as you lookto qualify for the London Games?I'm training very hard in Esmeraldas, my home city,where the government has given me the facilities I need to step up my preparation. I'm in good shapeand I'm ready for all the upcoming competitions. I'm looking forward to them and can't wait for themoment when I can get out there and compete.What competitions are you due to take part in prior to London?The most important events are the Pan AmericanGames in Mexico and the World Championships, bothof which are qualifiers for the Olympic Games, so I have to work hard to try to improve and ensure I perform to the best of my abilities at these events.How does your Olympic Solidarity scholarship help you?It's a great help. The scholarship enables me to trainwithout having to worry, and allows me to buy what I need for each competition. Thanks to OlympicSolidarity, I'm able to train in my home city so I'mclose to my daughter and my husband, which givesme peace of mind and enables me to train in the bestpossible way. This allows me to devote all my energy to my sport and my attempts to qualify for the Gamesin London next year. Do you have any Olympic heroes?Halil Mutlu, the Turkish weightlifter who won threeconsecutive Olympic gold medals, would be myOlympic hero. I've always admired him - he was myinspiration. He's so small but he has a big heart andso much courage and strength. Do you know London?I have not been to London but I will get to know it. Thatis another incentive for me to qualify for the Gamesand I'm sure London is expecting me!How did you become a weightlifter?It was my sister who first got me into weightlifting; she competed for a local sports club and I instantly fell in love with the sport. What is your goal at the Games in London?What I really want is to step up onto the podium andhear my country's national anthem. I've won medalsat all the other major competitions - the SouthAmerican, Bolivian and Pan American Games, and theWorld Championships. The only thing I don't have isthe Olympic medal, which is why I'm going to give it everything I have to win one in London.