Articles, Blog

Raz Hershko Aims at Olympic Judo Glory | Generation Rise

Raz Hershko Aims at Olympic Judo Glory | Generation Rise

Raz Hershko
has devoted herself to the martial art of Judo
since she was a child. Raz is stopping at nothing
to make Israel’s Olympic squad. My dream? My dream is to win
a gold medal, an Olympic one. That’s my dream,
no more and no less. In the Middle East
and North Africa, the next generation
of athletes rise. An elite force,
exceeding expectation… reach gold. These are their stories… ..through their eyes. (GENERATION RISE – MIDDLE EAST
AND NORTH AFRICA) Raz Hershko is
twice national Judo champion of the 78kg category. 19 years old, she’s set on becoming Israel’s
next Olympic Judo medal winner at the games in Tokyo 2020. When you are on the mat,
during a fight, there’s no such thing
as honour, there’s no such thing
as friendships. You have to be bad, bad as in you don’t care
what happens to your rival, or whether she’s injured. In two days, Raz is taking on
an intense testing session that will determine
if she’s ready to join Israel’s
senior Judo team. Judo was first contested at the
Olympic Games in the cradle of the sport,
in Tokyo in 1964. In Japanese, Judo means “the gentle way”. Developed by
a Japanese academic as a means to nurture physical
and mental strength, it’s a martial art that rewards
adjustment and evasion. Olympic fights last
for five minutes for men, and four minutes for women. To win, competitors must either throw
their opponent to the ground, and hold them on their back
for 20 seconds, or force them into submission. Next, light running. Run! We spend about
six, seven hours a day here, morning training,
evening training. In order to become a champion, you need to have many talents. You need to be strong, you need to be fast, you need to be explosive, but most importantly, you must work hard.
It’s a very difficult sport. Raz’s coach has trained the
junior Judo team for six years. Now he’s preparing Raz
to advance to the senior team. Raz entered the team at the age
of 12-13 as a huge promise. It was easy to see her agility, high level of coordination, explosive power,
and physical strength. Resist, you are not resisting. There are more than 40
essential throwing techniques that define Judo. To qualify
for the senior squad, Raz needs to prove
she’s mastered every one. It’s the strength
and the explosive power. It’s bang, that moment
when you get in there. After months of preparation, Raz’s fitness
and Judo techniques will be put to the test
in two days’ time. If she passes,
she’ll be one step closer to joining
Israel’s Olympic squad. It is hard. It will always be hard, it will always be even harder, but you learn,
and work as hard as possible, more than anybody else, and put in the effort, and win. Raz is not the first Israeli
woman to dream of winning an Olympic judo event. When Yael Arad entered the first Olympic Games
women’s Judo event in Barcelona in 1992, few people in Israel
knew who she was. At the time, Judo was virtually
unknown in Israel and with only a small number
of female competitors, Yael had no choice
but to train with men. Then, after
17 years of dedication, she became the first Israeli
to win an Olympic medal. Claiming silver
in the women’s final, Yael inspired a new generation
of Israeli athletes and is credited with
establishing Judo as a national sport. Lift the mattress. Then you turn it over,
get on it. To apply to join Israel’s
senior Judo squad, Raz must successfully pass
a series of physical tests to prove she’s ready
to advance her Judo career. Up and… strong, strong, strong! Up. Fast. Fast.
Take it up a notch. My fears? My fears are to be
beaten but more than that… ..the bigger fear is not doing
what I’m supposed to do in a fight, to not work as you should,
to give up. That’s worse than
losing a fight. A little more. Stop. What you’ve done up
till now is child’s play. Without time to rest, Raz moves
to the next stage of the test. She must perform a series
of traditional Judo throws. With Judo you need to throw
once in a fight, rather than 20 times. After one perfect throw,
the fight is finished. So she did six perfect ones. After what she did earlier,
it’s enough for today. Raz has passed
with flying colours, and now that she can apply
to join the senior squad, her friends
are ready to celebrate. Of course I want to get
the highest achievement. In every competition, I want to get to
the top of the podium. In every single fight
in a competition, I want to give 200%
in every fight, and if that’s going to bring
me a gold medal, that’s great. (RAZ HERSHKO WAS INSPIRED BY

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 thoughts on “Raz Hershko Aims at Olympic Judo Glory | Generation Rise

  1. The IJF changed the rules at the start of the year. Contests now last 4 minutes for men and women.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *