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Judoka Dalidaivis Rodriguez Clark aims to repeat London 2012 gold
1 Jul 2016 15:30
Cuba’s Parapan American champion Dalidaivis Rodriguez is hoping to reclaim the Paralympic judo title at Rio 2016. Parapan American judo champion Dalidaivis Rodriguez Clark seeks to add a second gold to her Paralympic tally, in Rio, after topping the podium at London 2012.
The Cuban hopes to get a chance for revenge against Ukraine’s World No.1 Iryna Husieva, who she lost to in the 2014 World Championships final.
“What I am expecting the most is to face Husieva at Rio 2016,” said Rodriguez Clark.
“And, of course, I want to win repeat the gold medal performance from London. I believe it depends on me, on how well prepared I am when the Paralympics draw near.
“I was sick during the Worlds two years ago, thus winning a medal was a surprise for me.”
Apart from Husieva, Rodriguez Clark will have to be at her very best to hold-off China’s London 2012 silver medallist Tong Zhou.
“Both Zhou and Husieva are very tough and tireless opponents, who never give up and are constantly trying to improve,” she said.
Rodriguez Clark highlighted how important it was for her to claim a second Parapan American title last year, after taking gold at Guadalajara 2011.
“Winning gold in Toronto was very important for me because it gave me the necessary boost ahead of September’s Paralympic Games,” she said.
The 32-year-old also claimed Latin America’s first Paralympic Games will be important to help develop Para sports in the region and get more people involved with the Paralympic Movement.
“Rio 2016 will be a stepping stone for the continent and, I think, a big celebration,” she said.
Rodriguez Clark is following an intensive training programme, hoping to reach the Paralympics in her best possible shape.
“Winning the gold at the 2012 Paralympic Games was magical because I fulfilled a lifetime dream,” she said.
“If you make an effort, you will surely meet your objectives.
“Now, there is not a day I stop dreaming of repeating London’s gold medal performance, in Rio.”
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Lucas Van Velden (NED)