Home » Judo news
The latest Judo News offered by JudoInside.com
Idalys Ortiz eager to take second Olympic gold medal
14 Jul 2016 10:35
Top Cuban judoka Idalis Ortiz forged her exceptional endurance and techniques by training with men, a regimen that helped her break through in Beijing and claim Olympic gold in London. By stealing the spotlight from the favourites, China’s Tong Wen and Japan’s Mika Sugimoto, Ortiz became the first judoka born outside Asia to dominate in the category at the Olympics, which first held women’s judo competitions in 1992.
In Rio, things will be different, she said, because the field is more even. “Whoever my opponent may be, it will be difficult," Ortiz predicted in an interview with AFP. To reach the top of the podium in Rio next month, Ortiz will likely have to get past world No 1 Song Yu of China and Brazil’s Maria Altheman, Ortiz’s long-suffering foil who will likely be thirsty for revenge on home turf.
The Cuban is still eager to win titles even after taking home some 200 medals over the course of her career, including five from world championships – two gold and three bronze. For the time being, Ortiz is training hard, seven hours a day and, as she did at the start of her career, with men.
“I’ve always been fairly big, and there weren’t any girls to take me on. I’ve always had to spar with men in training. You can’t imagine how many times they took me down but losing made me stronger mentally," she added. Driulis Gonzalez, a Cuban female judo star who trains the national team, is full of praise for Ortiz. “Since she joined the national team, she’s shown maturity, character and self-sacrifice. This, along with her discipline and talent, give her a winning mindset," she said.
Ortiz’s love affair with judo began at an early age. But everything changed when she was 14 – the moment when she arrived at the elite national training centre in Havana. When she showed up for tryouts, Ortiz says that her sister was bowled over by the size of her adversaries and asked her if she truly wanted to stay. “I told her, ‘So long as I’m here, I’ll keep going! ... And after the bouts, the teacher said, ‘The little one stays here’." And for 12 years since that time, the champion has only ever gone home to visit.
During major international events, Ortiz’s entire family is overcome with nerves but cannot travel with her due to the cost. “My parents have never had the courage to watch me spar in person. My brothers have watched but not my parents," the champion says with a smile before heading back to the tatami mat.
Related judoka and events
Related Judo Photos
Related Judo Videos
Related Judo News
World silver medallist Idalys Ortiz of Cuba defeated double world silver medallist Maria Suelen Altheman (BRA) for the 14th time in her career to win her fifth Grand Prix gold medal. The Cuban legend, who has won all three colours of Olympic medals available, is already a leading contender for Tokyo 2020 and was unbeatable in Mexico on Sunday. Read more
Japanese heavyweight Sarah Asahina won the world title in Baku after a boring final in which both women were too fatigued to throw each other. After a third penalty it was Asahina who was awarded the victory, giving Japan their seventh gold medal, 50% of all available titles, and even more medals than last year's World Championships in Budapest. Read more
Sarah Asahina of Japan is on track for her second world title. Last year she won the World Open title in Marrakech and she was runner-up at the World Championships in Budapest behind Yu Song. This time she is more stable and has all the cards in hands to win the world title. Read more
World number one Kim Min-Jeong of Korea is obviously the first seeded athlete but apparently it doesn’t guarantee a smooth draw. In her first round she will face 2012 Olympic Champion Idalys Ortiz. The Cuban six time World medallist and double World Champion is unseeded so one of the two will be out in the first round. Read more
Cuban all-time great Idalys Ortiz remained undefeated in 2018 with a vintage display as the three-time Olympic medallist showed that she is on track for Baku 2018. Ortiz, who won the Pan American Championships in April, is one of the most revered heavyweight judoka of all time having took bronze at Beijing 2008, gold at London 2012 and silver at Rio 2016 in addition to two world titles. Read more
Nayeong Song (KOR)