Youth Olympic Games. Junior European Championships. Junior World Championships. European Open… again. Just a few of the accomplishments of Adrian SULCA of Romania. The 23 year-old dominated as a junior, and then stepping in to the harsh reality of the IJF World Judo Tour, found himself struggling a little more than perhaps expected in the -73kg category. However this is one of the most difficult and densely populated categories, peppered with champions, and now is finding his way. He hasn’t exactly made it any easier on himself by moving in to the -81kg division but needs must.
Today in the Gyor European Open 2024, it felt like a new person had stepped on the tatami, and in some ways it was, a new category, and the need to be back in competition after quite some time out.
New weight category but the gold medal! I can say that I have come from a dark place, I had an injury and this is my first competition since the surgery. In the World Championships in Doha last year I dislocated my shoulder and the doctor said I must have the surgery, it was mandatory if I wanted to continue so I had no choice.
Explaining the process of the surgery and the mundane reality that was his healing time, sleeping in awkward positions and without the use of his arms for months, he was willing to do anything to get back on the mat.
I did everything perfect and followed all the rules afterwards and when I started training again I was trying to manage in the -73 category but my coaches said it will be better if I change. I feel good, I can show more just and can still throw and it s a bonus that I can eat what I want!
It may have felt like a setback at the time, but Sulca has come back fresh and proven nothing was lost, only gained. First one back and he stole the show.
Author: Thea Cowen