A liberating gold, which relieves pressure and is a great finishing touch to the junior stage of the judoka from Vigo Laura Vázquez, who was proclaimed junior European champion in Prague, in the -63 kilos category, after beating the Israeli Adelina by ippon Novitzki in the final.
A title that deserved a celebration in style and that took place on Saturday night, at ungodly hours, as she herself acknowledges, since landed in Porto almost at eleven at night. “It was a late-night party, almost,” she jokes. There were his coach Marcial Romero and the president of the Galician Federation, Mario Muzas, among other family members, friends and colleagues. “After this year, which has been tough sportingly, with moments of downturn, and other good ones as well, arriving and seeing them there, at that time, too, is very much appreciated,” he is moved.
The tournament was filmed for her, who arrived in Prague with an exhaustive previous analysis of the rivals. “More or less we all know each other. I had already struggled from time to time with some of them, but the key was that I was in tune with myself. The body responded to me at all times and the head was where it had to be, concentrated ”, she analyzes.
Vázquez acknowledges that in the competition it was “from less to more”, experiencing better sensations as he progressed in the draw: “Seeing that you go through rounds you have more confidence, and you go for another, and another, until the final” .
A final, against the Israeli Adelina Novitzki, who faced, as she confesses, “nervous at first, because of everything that the last fight of the day requires, the one that decides the gold”, but he knew how to keep “a very cool head”. It helped him to mark all the aspects that he had previously prepared with his coach. “It helped me to follow the script that we had established until the end and I think that was one of the keys that the fight at the end turned out in my favor.” He fought like this until the end to achieve continental glory “more or less at the last minute”.
And that, although he tried to maintain concentration at all times, he did have to react to “an action that was about to be scored against me”. “I think it was a wake-up call and that it made me pick up the pace a little more because the fight seemed to be evening out a bit,” he highlights. “I started very well and when he almost marked me, I told myself that I had to be a little more cheeky, in quotes; Luckily it went well”, she celebrates.
Vázquez had already been silver in 2019 in the European cadet and last year she had been proclaimed runner-up in the junior world. “I think that weighed me down a bit at the level of demand with myself. Although it was not a bad season, there were competitions in which I did not feel comfortable, being me on the tatami, and I would have liked it to have been a little better, but the truth is that it has ended in the best possible way”, says the FAMU de Frutos judoka.
“I always dedicate my medals to my family, to my coach… But this one I feel like I dedicate it to myself first, because of the ups and downs of this season,” he announces.
The medal has also helped him to see that “the season is not defined in the first few months, but rather that even if things don’t go well at the beginning, the end matters more. Sometimes we focus on the beginning and don’t look at what is yet to come.”
with this gold closes its junior stage and makes the leap to the absolute category, a stage that excites him a lot and in which he is already focusing on his great long-term goal: the Paris Games: “Two years are very long, but at the same time very short and everything we do every day, both training like competitions, we are putting it in our backpack for 2024 and I think this gold will come in handy to close one stage and open another and I am happy and excited”. Laura Vázquez’s backpack does not stop filling up.