Nikoloz Sherazadishvili: The Return of a Champion
Nikoloz Sherazadishvili, a two-time -90 kilo world champion, has made a triumphant comeback. After a year-long recovery from a cruciate fracture of his right knee, Sherazadishvili recently won the European bronze in Montpellier. This victory comes as a testament to his resilience and determination. In an exclusive interview with MARCA, Sherazadishvili shares his experience of the past nine months and his aspirations for the future.
A Taste of Victory
When asked about his feelings on winning the European bronze, Sherazadishvili expresses his happiness and relief. While he acknowledges that it may not be the same as winning gold, he emphasizes the importance of feeling competitive again. Defeating renowned opponents such as the double world champion Jorge Fonseca and the third-ranked Michael Korrel, Sherazadishvili’s victory reaffirms his position among the top judo athletes.
Challenging European Competition
Sherazadishvili acknowledges the tough competition in Europe, particularly in his weight category. With the top four players in the world ranking hailing from Europe, he recognizes the high level of skill and intensity in the continent. Sherazadishvili’s victory over Fonseca, who had previously defeated him in a Grand Slam final, showcases his determination and ability to overcome challenges.
A Journey of Recovery
While Sherazadishvili has made significant progress in his physical recovery, he admits that there is still some lingering hesitation in his mind. Despite this, he feels confident and secure in his abilities. The rehabilitation process has been demanding, both physically and mentally. Protecting his knee for several months and then returning to the competitive arena has been a challenging experience. However, Sherazadishvili remains resilient and determined to overcome any obstacles.
Mental Strength and Positive Outlook
Unlike many athletes, Sherazadishvili did not work with a sports psychologist during his recovery. Instead, he focused on finding solutions and maintaining a positive mindset. He believes that injuries are a part of sports and chooses to see them as opportunities for growth. Sherazadishvili’s mental strength has played a crucial role in his journey towards recovery.
Looking Ahead to Paris 2024
With the European bronze under his belt, Sherazadishvili sees it as an extra motivation for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics. Despite his ten-month hiatus, he remains confident in his ability to secure a spot in the Games. Currently ranked 21st in the Olympic ranking, Sherazadishvili is determined to climb higher and achieve his ultimate goal of winning Olympic gold.
A Strategic Approach
As Sherazadishvili prepares for future competitions, he plans to strike a balance between training and competing. While he acknowledges the importance of participating in important tournaments, he also emphasizes the significance of quality training. With his sights set on the Tokyo Grand Slam and other crucial events, Sherazadishvili aims to qualify for Paris and seize the opportunity to claim gold.