IJF Gabriela Sabau / International Judo Federation
Uzbekistan has the best Paralympic athletes in this moment. With four gold medals at the IBSA Grand Prix in Baku Uzbekistan had the most outstanding performance in Azerbaijan. Obviously just one event where foremost the men picked up three of the four titles. The host country claimed three gold medals and lost four.
Lenia Fabiola Ruvalcaba Álvarez of Mexico was the second Paralympic champion to claim the gold this week at the IBSA Grand Prix in Baku, showing her strength in the -70kg category.
The 33-year-old showed absolute dominance by defeating world champion Alana Martins (BRA) with kaeshi-waza.
Other categories showed more surprising outcomes. For example, in the +70kg category, where Italian Carolina Costa defeated world champion Wang Hongyu of China in the final. At the end of the day, five different nations claimed gold in six weight categories.
It’s a sign of the rapid development of IBSA judo taking place at the moment.
Henk Plugge, former Olympic referee and now Referee Director of IBSA, was impressed with the level of this IBSA Grand Prix.
“Last year at the world championships I was surprised by the high level of IBSA judo,” he said.
“Here it was even higher. The organization of the tournament was absolutely fantastic. It’s a result of the cooperation between the International Judo Federation, the National Paralympic Committee of Azerbaijan and the International Blind Sports Association. You see that if we cooperate in this way, the level of judo improves.
A good example of this cooperation is that of the referees of this tournament. IJF referees worked on both the IJF Grand Slam as well as the IBSA Grand Prix. For some of the referees it was their first IBSA event.
Plugge said: “They were fantastic. The referees here have so much quality and understanding of judo, that they adapted the rules of IBSA judo very easily. It really contributed to the high level of this tournament.”