With two more golds, Brazil closes the Turkish Grand Prix with 8 medals


In a white kimono, Érika strikes American Christella Garcia during a fight in Antalya (Photo: Tamara Kulumbegashvili/ IJF)

Brazil ended its participation in the Paralympic Judo Grand Prix of Antalya by reaching the podium six times. This Tuesday alone (2), the last day of the competition, the country won five medals in the Turkish city, two of which were gold. The result left the Brazilian team in third place overall, behind Uzbekistan and China.

The gold medals this Tuesday (2) came from Érika Zoaga (+70 kg J1) and Wilians Araújo (+90 kg J1). Alana Maldonado (up to 70 kg J2) took silver, while Brenda Freitas (up to 70 kg J1) and Rebeca Silva (+70 kg J2) won bronze. The day before, Brazil won silver with Rosi Andrade (48kg J1) and Elielton Oliveira (60kg J1), and a bronze with Thiego Marques (60kg J2).

Brazil repeated its place in the first stage of the IBSA circuit (acronym in English for International Federation of Sports for the Blind), in February. On that occasion, he was third best in Heidelberg, Germany. The next challenge for the Brazilian Paralympic judo team will take place in Tblisi, Georgia, in May. All stages of the circuit qualify for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Paralympic spot closer

Érika Zoaga’s gold meant an important step for the athlete from Mato Grosso on her way to the Paris Paralympic Games. This is because she arrived at the Antalya GP in sixth place in the ranking for Paris, last place in the classification zone. As all tournaments in the last year of the Paralympic cycle are worth double points, it will make an important leap in the list and remain under less pressure heading into the final stretch.

“Challenge and overcoming, that’s what I can say about this result. I am very happy and excited to know that the dream of arriving in Paris is getting closer. I remain increasingly focused, because I still have a way to go before then”, said the 35-year-old athlete, who has never competed in a Paralympics.


To win the title, she faced a very tough bracket, with all her opponents ahead of her in the world rankings. In her debut, she had to defeat the category leader, Turkish Nazan Akin Gunes. She then beat Uzbek Feruza Ergasheva, ranked fifth in the world, in the semi-final. Valuing in gold, she beat the American Christella Garcia, third on the list.

Willians’ gold and Alana’s silver

Wilians Araújo continues to excel in his category. World heavyweight champion among J1 athletes (completely blind), he beat Iraqi Murtadha Al-Sultani, fourth best in the ranking, in the final. “Another step reached. The dream of Paris is very much alive, with every day having more confidence. I just have to thank everyone who spares no effort for us to be here at a high level,” he said.

Two-time world champion and current Paralympic champion in the up to 70 kg category for J2 athletes (low vision), Alana Maldonado won the silver medal, repeating the feat from the Heidelberg Grand Prix. The German stage marked his return to competition after almost a year without fighting due to a knee injury.

“It’s still not the expected result, but I’m happy to see an improvement compared to the first competition. I continue to work hard, the biggest goal is ahead. We are working hard to correct our mistakes and get back to competitive rhythm”, highlighted the judoka. In a bracket with three athletes, she beat Japan’s Kazusa Ogawa, but fell again to China’s Yue Wang, her tormentor in Germany.

Medals for those already classified

The other Brazilian medals of the day came from athletes already guaranteed to participate in the Paralympic Games. Brenda Freitas lost her debut to Argentine Nadia Boggiano, eighth in the world. However, she won her three repechage matches to take bronze.

Rebeca Silva was defeated in the semifinals by Kazakh Zarina Raifova, but defeated her compatriot, Aidana Gazizkyzy, in the fight to earn the podium. Ranking leader among J2 heavyweights (low vision).

This Tuesday, Larissa Silva (57 kg J1), Marcelo Casanova (90 kg J2) and Sérgio Fernandes Junior (+90 kg J2) also competed at the Antalya Grand Prix in paralympic judo. However, they failed to place on the podium.

*Text with information from the Brazilian Confederation of Sports for the Visually Impaired (CBDV)

Journalist from Recife graduated from Faculdade Boa Viagem, passionate about football, athletics, basketball and other sports.


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: golds Brazil closes Turkish Grand Prix medals



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