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Judo Bronze Medalist’s Comeback Trail

Posted November. 21, 2006 06:36,   


Have you ever lifted an 8.0kg package of meat? Just imagine how you would feel if you lose 8.0kg in a few days. In judo, which has several weight classes, a weight loss of 3.0kg is nothing unusual or difficult. But even for judo, losing 8.0kg is difficult.

The man in the picture is Choi Min-ho, who won the bronze medal in the men’s 60kg class of the judo competition in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

After a torturous 8 kg weight loss, he won a bronze medal, but he was almost dehydrated.

He failed to join the national squad for the 2005 world championship. He actually beat his rival Cho Nam-seok (25) in the final round, but he was behind his rival when total scores were tallied.

He felt he had no reason to continue judo.

He drank soju for the three consecutive days. Once he ate 20 ice cream servings in one sitting. “I just ate and ate,” he said.

He didn’t even participate in training anymore. Some said Choi’s career ended.

In December, 2005, he enlisted in the army for basic military training. He began to pull himself together. He realized he was still young to give up everything and it was not the end of life. He lost 4.0kg after a 4-week training period.

He changed his team to the Korea Racing Association. “I was committed and tried hard,” he said. He was determined to win the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006, but another misfortune came to him.

Just 2 months in the run up to the competition, he suffered from a rupture of his armpit muscle. Instead of him, his rival Cho Nam-seok came to the competition.

But he was not discouraged. He tried harder and finally won in men’s 60kg class of the KRA Cup Korea Open, an international judo tournament held on November 18. “I will win a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I am confident,” he says.