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Hector Lombard wants to return in judo for Australia

3 Apr 2015 14:55

hector lombard

Hector Lombard recently accouned he wants to come back in judo, for Australia at the 2016 Olympic Games. It looked like a rumour but it isn't and Lombard returned his thoughts to

Let's break the ice.. Is it true that you are coming back to judo to chase Rio 2016? 

Yes, it is. It would be a dream come true for myself to qualify and compete at the 2016 Olympic Games. I have already competed at the 2000 Sydney Games and I plan on attempting to qualify for the 2016 Games under the Australian flag.

If you come back, Travis Stevens (USA) would like to see you on the other side of the mat. What do you think about that?
 I have heard about Travis wanting to fight me on the mat. He has been chasing me around since he heard rumors about me coming back to judo. It would be a great matchup and I hope one day it will happen. (laughing) 

What were the major factors that caused you to leave judo? 
I had moved to Australia after I left Cuba. You may say that I 'left judo behind', because judo is not as popular in Australia as it is in my hometown. It was really hard to find a high-level club around me. On top of that, I also was working 10 hours daily, and it was very difficult for me to find time to train as well. 

What is your story about leaving Cuba and changing your nationality?
 I left Cuba purely for economic issues that held me back in Cuba, nothing else. I love my Cuban culture and people, but I found a new home in Australia and the move helped me build my future.

Do you follow judo? If yes, what do you think about today's judo? 
I do follow today's judo, it has changed a lot from when I was competing in the early 2000's. The style of judo has changed greatly too, I recently saw Ilias Iliadis compete and it was crazy to see him throw big men around like it was nothing. The new rules are different but we all have the same goal in common, to win. 

Now, you have 37-years of experience under your belt, do you still plan on being active? 
Age does not matter, as long as the heart and mind stays young and determined. (smiles) With a coach like German Velazco (2000 Olympian and Junior World silver medalist), I know I will be able to get back to top shape for competitive judo. 

Who is your favorite judoka of the past or present, and why? 
Today, my favorite judoka would have to be Teddy Riner of France. He is only 25 years of age and already a six-time World Champion and an Olympic Champion. This is quite a marvel that only comes once in a lifetime.

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