Mumbai (AsiaNews) - In exactly ten days the Olympics will open in London, and India will participate with 80 athletes in 13 different disciplines. In addition to hockey - the sport that has earned more medals - this year New Delhi has high hopes for Garima Chaudhary, 22, the only Indian judoka to qualify for the Games. A great responsibility, the young woman tells AsiaNews, but also "a dream come true, the biggest for any athlete." A success is difficult to achieve on paper, given that Garima is 94th in the world for her category (63kg), preceded by more experienced athletes (including Olympions). But his outsider status could be a winner and crowd out opponents.
Born in Meerut (Uttar Pradesh) in 1990, at 14 years of age Garima debuted at an international level, competing at the Asian Junior Championship and the Commonwealth Judo Championship. In 2006 she won gold at the South Asian Games. Again in 2007, she won a gold medal in her category at the Asian Junior Championship, which was followed by a silver and a bronze over the next two years., Garima was national champion seven times.
Preparing for a competition like the Olympics, the judoka tells AsiaNews, "is simple: work hard, many sacrifices. You must follow a strict diet to get back into your category weight, recover from injuries more or less mild, stay away from family and friends". However, "the sacrifices are repaid in full by the support from all over India which is a source of great strength."
For Garima, judo is an essential and constitutive element of her life: "Judo means "Gentle Way", and that definition says it all: it is a discipline, even before a sport, that taught me how to live in society. It's not about being competitive, but knowing yourself and how to relate to others. "
Formally born in 1882 in Japan, judo became an Olympic discipline in Tokyo 1964, but only for the male category. Women first participated in the Barcelona Games of 1992.