Route to Rio: UEL Judo Star begins New Year’s Day in Belgium

Szandra Szogedi, BUCS Gold medallist began her preparation for the 2016 Games whilst travelling to Belgium to train with Heylen Isle, Athens Olympic Bronze medallist.Szandra

After missing out the London Games by the narrowest of margins, Szandra took a break from judo to refresh her mind for the next four years, “It has been tough times during the summer…watching the Games when I know I could be there, was probably the worst time ever, but it is true that what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger and indeed looking back I wouldn’t change it.”

Taking a break from Judo also led Szandra to rethink and replay the next four years, “I have made loads of changes in my life since, which could not happen without the help of UEL. I have changed my strength and conditioning coach and currently working with SportsDock Fitness Instructor, Alex Oviawe and that has made significant changes already to my judo. I look forward to repay his hard work as well as UEL’s support by bringing medals back from the top tournaments.”

Szandra ‘celebrated’ New Year’s Eve by training with one of the best judokas in the world. “Training with Ilse, is like a runner to train with Usain Bolt….she inspired me since I was young as they used to come to Hungary to train with us…I remember the time she just used to throw me around years ago… having reached the standard she reached shows that all my hard work started to pay off.”

This year there is alot to look forward to for the UEL Judo star. She begins her journey on the first weekend of February with the European Cup in Antwerp, the following week it is the Paris Grand Slam and straight after she is travelling to Sheffield to defend her title at the BUCS Championships. “February will be crazy, we will be travelling from one location to another…”she says. Szandra has the World University Games in Russia and the World Championships in Brazil as the main target for 2013. “This year is not about qualifying, however it doesn’t mean we can just lie back…July will be very important as I am not planning to come back without a medal from the World University Games…and by the end of the year I am aiming to be ranking in the top 10 in the World.”

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