Rio 2016: Szandra Szogedi ranked #2 in Africa

12081457_10207747618829239_1193389258_nGhana’s chances of qualifying a female judoka for the first time to compete at the Olympics is well on course as the latest World Judo ranking sees All Africa Games bronze medalists Szandra Szogedi ranked 2nd in Africa.

The U.K based athlete is currently ranked 33th in the World Judo rankings and 2nd in the Continental Rankings with 453 points in the -63kg division.

Fresh from winning judo bronze at the 2015 All Africa Games in Congo-Brazzaville last month, Szandra Szogedi set her sights on winning more points at the Tashkent Grand Prix in Uzbekistan.

“I haven’t had the best day today in Tashkent,” she told on Thursday October 1st.

“But ups and downs are all part of the game. I am going back to my club now (Camberley Judo Club) to continue my preparation as we still have a big block of competitions left for this year.”

“My next tournament will be the Paris Grand Slam next weekend.”

Szogedi’s Rich Medal history with Team Ghana

Szogedi has had a rich history competing for Ghana, winning a total of seven medals made up of three gold and four bronze medals since 2012

“I won my first medal in 2012 in Agadir at the African Judo Championships, which happened to be a bronze and since ever I am picking up bronze medals at the continentals (2014 Mauritius and 2015 Libreville.), except in 2013 in Mozambique, where I finished 5th place. It is my aim to turn it into a piece of gold next year.

“I won gold at the African Open in Mauritius last year in November (both the continental championships and the open were held there).

“I won two additional gold at both, Welsh Open (2014) and Scottish Open (2015) which were more like preparation tournaments for me towards the qualification competitions.”

By far, she is the most travelled Ghanaian athlete in 2015, competing in more than 15 competitions including the World Championships in Kazakhstan, Pan American Open in San Salvador and the Dusseldorf Grand Prix.

“This year I had two fifth places and one seventh place from the Pan-American qualifying tour. I finished fifth place at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix in 2012.  (only Ghanaian judoka to get closest ever to a Grand Prix medal),” she stressed.

“All these travel wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Camberley Judo Club, the International Judo Federation and the Ghana Olympic Committee. I want to thank for all their support and I will be aiming to make us all proud in Rio.”

Rio 2016 Prospects

Having narrowly missed qualification to the London 2012 Olympic Games, Szandra is hoping to be second time lucky this time by clinching a place in Rio 2016.

She has certainly shown the desire to qualify to be with the best and a lot more is expected from now to the end of the qualifiers in May 2015.

It will take a lot more funding, training and determination for Szogedi to secure much needed points to keep her in pole position in the continental and world rankings.

The dream to see Ghana’s first female judoka get to the biggest stage in world sports at Rio 2016 is well and truly on course.