Road to Rio: Georgii Zantaraia, Flight: UKR2014 - BR2016

This week we have Ukrain's judo star, Georgii Zantaraia shares his judo story on his way to the 2016 Olympic. The Georgian born judoka will have his second chance to add an Olympic medal to his collection in the next Mega-Event.
The 2011 European champion, Georgii Zantaraia started judo in Ukraine, in 1997. "My parents had to move out of Georgia because there was a war at the time and so they moved to Ukraine. I started judo there at my school. There wasn't any other sports to do in my school, only judo. That is how I took up judo." - he remembers. Georgii is famous of his gymnastic movements on the mat so the question had to be asked, when did you do gymnastic? He laughs and says: "I have never done gymnastic in my whole life, in fact I have never done any other sports apart of judo." At the time of the Athens Olympic Games, he realised that he had a hidden dream which was to became and Olympic Champion. Therefore, Georgii decided to go ahead with the 2008 Olympic qualification to book his spot in the Beijing Games. "In 2006, I started the qualification and I remember my first tournament in Paris. I lost...and I immediately asked myself 'what do I want from an Olympic Games when I can not even win a medal at the qualification?'. A week later I won Bronze in Austria, which followed up with many more medals." - explains the double world bronze medalist. This is not it. He continues: "At the last qualification event in Prague, I fought against another Ukrainian boy for bronze and I lost, which meant there will not be any Olympic Games for me, or at least not in 2008." What happened then? GZ: "I was crying and crying, eventually I picked myself up." The world champion judoka managed to put the past behind and four years later he became one of the favourite judoka to watch at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Won several medals throughout the qualification however, he has returned home with empty hands from the English capital. "Oh, I could not believe it myself. After all the trainings I have done.. I was upset myself and I thought I finished judo. I think at the Olympics you need to have strong preparation but you also need some sort of luck. I definitely haven't had the second part... Thanks to my coach, he said we changing weight category and fight in the U66 and take an Olympic medal in four year’s time. First time, I did not want to change, I wanted to stay in the U60. But he was right and I quickly adapt to the new weight category and now nothing can stop me of getting an Olympic medal to my collection." Georgii, who favours Japanese style of judo and likes to go fishing as well as travelling to his birth country when and if he has time to switch off. But what is more important than that, he likes to make sure he gets his sleep. However, there was more that just training and sleeping regime to deal with before the 2012 Games. "My baby was born a year before the 2012 Games and then it was more family time than Olympic time to be honest. I mean, I was fully training and did all the commitment required, however I think I won a family that time not the Olympics." - explains Georgii. So, planning to have more babies? "Oh, yes. I want many many kids" - he adds. How do you cope with your career and the family life than? "I don't actually. I am lucky, because my wife deals with it all and my parents and her parents are extremely supportive." - explains the 2014 Paris GS silver medallist. This year's major plans? GZ: "European and World Championships." You mean medal at both events? GZ: "OH, no medals. Only Gold!" - he smiles, while he adds: "To be honest my main focus is the to winning an Olympic Medal in Rio. I have European gold, World gold but I don't have an Olympic medal. I want to win an Olympic medal...aaaand... (he whispers) I will win an Olympic medal." So what needs to be done in order to win that precious medal? "I think changes are important, as far as they are correct changes. We will definitely do things slightly differently from the last experience. I believe in my coach 100% and I know he will make sure that I have the best preparation in order to achieve my goal." Any comments on the new rules? Georgii: "It does not affect me much so I can not really say much. I think we all have ups and downs with the changes but luckily nothing major for me. The new weight-in system also suits me so I really can not complain." And for last, the three wishes of our judo hero: "I have everything in life and my life is judo. I want my surname in the judo history and I want nothing more than an Olympic medal and that would make up for more than three wishes."

Events


News

Road to Rio: Ugo Legrand, Flight: FR2014 – BR2016

01.04.2014 | 07:06 | in
Road to Rio: Ugo Legrand, Flight: FR2014 – BR2016Ugo Legrand started judo at age of four in his father's dojo in Normandy at the club called, Grand Quevilly. When Ugo started judo, he had different motivation than 'just' gaining for the mega-event, "Since I was little, I wanted to be World... weiterlesen

Road to Rio: Corina Caprioriu, Flight: RO2014 - BR2016

28.02.2014 | 13:04 | in
Road to Rio: Corina Caprioriu, Flight: RO2014 - BR2016Corina's sports career began with gymnastics at the age of five and just a bit more than a year later she swopped the somersaults for ippons. "At the time my brother was doing judo for four years and he told me to come along for a session. I loved... weiterlesen

Europe wins unique Team Challenge against Asia

25.01.2014 | 16:02 | in
Europe wins unique Team Challenge against AsiaThe first successful shot was by Alesya Kuznetsova who defeated World Champion Munkhbat Urantsetseg. A good start for the European team. However it was World Champion Naohisa Takato who made the equalizer against Olympic Champion Arsen Galstyan.... weiterlesen

Road to Rio: Miklos Ungvari, Flight: HU2014 - BR2016

06.01.2014 | 15:06 | in
Road to Rio: Miklos Ungvari, Flight: HU2014 - BR2016 by Szandra Szögedi I arrived front of a gate with the Olympic Rings on it...Yes, you would think you got lost too, but not at all... It looked like the front of any Olympic office or anything like that. It was a front gate of the house of a... weiterlesen

Riner and Mammadov claim World titles

31.08.2013 | 23:35 | in
Riner and Mammadov claim World titlesWorld number one and World Judo Masters winner Elkhan MAMMADOV (AZE) arrived in Rio with the favourite tag and duly delivered as he dismissed the -100kg elite including a win in the final against Olympic bronze medallist Henk GROL (NED). Former... weiterlesen

Day 5 full of surprises

30.08.2013 | 23:30 | in
Day 5 full of surprisesDay five proved to be a day of surprises as the top seeds fell and two judoka won their first senior world titles while one added a second to her impressive record. Europe claimed another seven medals making a total of 25, but no gold this time.... weiterlesen

Lucie Decosse (FRA) retired after great career

30.08.2013 | 23:19 | in
Lucie Decosse (FRA) retired after great careerDecosse took an age to the leave the tatami after losing the bronze medal contest as the reality set in that she had graced the tatami for the last time in a career where she become a superstar in the sport. After leaving the competition tatami... weiterlesen

Unique 8 medals for Europe: Gerbi and Pietri golden couple

29.08.2013 | 23:57 | in
Unique 8 medals for Europe: Gerbi and Pietri golden coupleWorld number one Yarden GERBI (ISR) and world number two CLARISSE AGBEGNENOU (FRA) were on an inevitable collision course from the outset as the two outstanding talents in the category this year. GERBI went ahead with a yuko from an o-goshi and... weiterlesen

Five European medals at third day

28.08.2013 | 23:52 | in
Five European medals at third dayONO, the 2011 Junior world champion and Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist, was expected to be severely tested against the accomplished and hugely experienced Frenchman who won bronze at London 2012. That challenge failed to materialise as ONO... weiterlesen

European Judo heroes inducted into IJF Hall of Fame

25.08.2013 | 23:27 | in
European Judo heroes inducted into IJF Hall of FameI a missing a very dear friend in this room and that is Anton Geesink. I took up judo because of him. After 1964 our careers mingled and we were good friends. I’m so pleased his family could be here. I thank you all for this wonderful award.”... weiterlesen

German flagship Andy Toelzer retires after World Championships

12.08.2013 | 12:06 | in
German flagship Andy Toelzer retires after World Championships Andreas Toelzer, bronze medallist at the Olympic Games in London will retire after the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro in the end of this month. The 33-year old judoka from Mönchen Gladbach announced his retirement: “I hope for a medal... weiterlesen

Europe leads IJF World Ranking with seven captains

30.07.2013 | 10:40 | in
Europe leads IJF World Ranking with seven captains Europe has seven World Ranking leaders in advance of the World Championships judo in Rio de Janeiro. Seven is the same number of European Olympic Champions, but only one Olympic Champion in 2012 is still leading the World Ranking. Brazilian Sarah... weiterlesen

Sochi hosts elite international judoka at first OTC

27.07.2013 | 10:33 | in
Sochi hosts elite international judoka at first OTC Until the 31 st of July the elite in judo is preparing for the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro from 25-31 August. Sochi will host the Winter Olympic Athletes in 2014 but also hosted the Russian athletes in advance of their successful... weiterlesen

Sindelfingen pleasant warm-up forthcoming major events

20.07.2013 | 21:27 | in
Sindelfingen pleasant warm-up forthcoming major events The fifth of five European Cups for Seniors is this weekend in Sindelfingen in Germany. Slovenia is leading the medal table after the first day of fighting. European Champion Rok Draksic preferred to prepare for the World Championships in Germany... weiterlesen

Crowded house for new arrivals U70kg

28.06.2013 | 12:54 | in
Crowded house for new arrivals U70kg When Lucie Decosse FRA stood atop the podium at last summer’s Olympic Games in London she did so as reigning world champion and confirmed her status as world number one. By achieving at her third attempt her goal of winning an Olympic gold... weiterlesen