Colombian judo fighter Yuri Alvear Orejuela has won her third World Championship title in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The judo fighter from Jamundi, just outside of Cali, Valle del Cauca, took the gold in the middleweight category.
En route to victory, the 28-year-old faced Dutch favourite Kim Polling in the semifinals.
Alvear had lost all of her previous encounters this year with the Dutch world number one but got her revenge in this tournament. Leaving no doubt as to who is the real star in her category, Alvear beat Polling in just 1 minute 57 seconds, throwing her on her back to get an ippon. She repeated this performance with the Japanese Karen Nun Ira, also getting a perfect score, flooring her opponent in 2 minutes 1 second and claiming another gold medal.
In her early years, the Colombian athlete performed well in every sport she competed in. When she was 14, a judo trainer from Cali persuaded her to start training and it didn’t take long before she was national champion in her age category. The judoka, from a small town on the outskirts of Cali, soon rose to fame in the middleweight category. She won the World Championship in 2009 in Rotterdam and had another success in the Olympic Games in London 2012, taking the bronze medal. The athlete asked for the celebration thrown in her honour to be held in the Deportivo Cali stadium and arrived wearing the club’s strip, making no secret of who her favourite football team is.
In an interview she did with the Antena 2 radio station, Alvear said main goal for the future is to stave off injuries. She told the show that she has suffered many injuries throughout her career, including a knee injury during her most recent victory. She has said she will have to take some time off to recover before competing in upcoming tournaments.
Alvear’s next biggest challenge will be in August 2016, when she will be aiming for a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. The competition, in the same location as her World Championship victory last year, is all that remains to make her trophy cabinet complete.
By Freek Huigen