Niko Sherazadishvili received on May 13 in his body the visit that all humanity wants to avoid. And more if you are an athlete, number one in the world judo ranking and the Tokyo Games appear less than two months away … COVID-19. The world champion in -90 kg in 2018 felt discomfort, he underwent a PCR prior to the international concentration in Benidorm in which he was going to fine-tune his set-up for the Budapest World Cups that start this Sunday and the result was positive. Mazazo.
After ten days standing and listen to his body, the Madrid-born of adoption (he was born in Georgia and settled in Brunete since he was 13 years old) and his coach Quino Ruiz decided that they should not skip the World Cup, in which he will compete on Thursday 10. “As soon as I tested negative I resumed my routine of three daily training sessions. At first, a little tired. But luckily the virus attacked me slightly and now I can say that I am at 98% and I hope to prove it. 100% I will only be in Tokyo “, he tells funny from the bubble hotel in Budapest.
Unlike other athletes for whom COVID was that ‘train that passes over you’, Niko says he is already “focused” and has “forgotten” the scare. “The World Cup will be good for me to see in what form I am a month away from the Games,” he says. They will not be the current champion, the Dutch Noël van’t End nor the Russian Mikhail Igolnikov, but the rest of the elite did in a competition that did not touch this course and the International Federation, not to let three years pass, has relocated before the Games.
Niko Shera has only competed this year in the Tel Aviv Grand Slam (silver) and the Europeans in April, where he strangely lost in the first round to the Dutch Jesper Smink. “There is no bad luck. It was a stumble and it was still good for me to wake up. It had been two years without falling in such an early round,” he says while advising that this year he has won “in muscle and judo.” Medical tests confirm this: the percentage of body fat is lower and the percentage of muscle mass is higher. “The physical preparation has been heavy and now work has to come out,” he warns.
Niko, one of Spain’s great medal options at the Games, will share a tatami with other Spaniards with options. This Sunday (Eurosport), in -48 kg Julia Figueroa and Laura Martínez will close their fight for an Olympic place (6th and 12th in the ranking) and the recent European champion in -60 kg Fran Garrigós will try to climb the world box.