Two-time Panamerican champion, Valeria Kumizaki (-55kg) was aslo silver World medalist 2 years ago in Linz. The Brazilian fighter, who won the K1 Rabat in the spring, has a good final card to play at the World championships in Madrid (November 6-11), her 8th Worlds.
By Ludovic Mauchien
How is it to be Panamerican champion again ?
It is always a emotion to be champion of your continent. I work hard all day and I want more and more.
The season has been long and tiring. How do you feel ?
I really like this. It was always my dream to go and compete all around the world and now, I have sponsor to do it. I’m very happy that I can represent my country around the world.
What is your planning for the week before the World championships ?
It is the same like others competition, I do one training per day and start to be more focused in important championships. I try not to think so much of opponent. I just think to do my best performance and stay focused in my goals.
What is your main goal at the Worlds : getting points for the Olympics or being World champion ?
Being World champion is my big dream, and win a gold medal can be the beginning of the Olympic games’ dream. Having a good position in a World championship was always important. Now, it is very, very important.
What is your strongest wish, to be World champion or Olympic champion ?
Both are a big dream. I want to think step by step. First, the World championship and after, the Olympic dream.
What memories do you have from the 2016 World final ? What have you learnt from it ? Will it be helpful ?
I have very good memories from this competition. Of course, I’m not 100% happy because I lost the final. But, for me, it was always very hard to travel because I paid all my competitions. Those last years, I have tried to live in other countries to do training and be near all competitions. It was a new experience for me. It was not easy to live alone and stay alone for a long time. But I have learnt that nothing is impossible if you work hard and have faith in God.
How do you look back and analyse your performance in Berlin and Tokyo (no podium) ?
It is not so bad. Of course, I need improve a lot of thinking but I’m in the correct way. Now, I have support to improve more and more.
You are going to participate to your 8th World championships since 2006. What does that inspire you ?
My motivation is to be World champion and I never have stopped to think about it. It’s always inside my heart. I am sure and I never stop to believe that it is possible to be World champion.
Did you feel better with the 2006 Karate or do you prefer the way Karate has taken today ?
I like this new model. It is more emotion for us, athletes, and for people who watch matches.
Do you think you are stronger today than ever ?
Yes, today, I have more experience than before.
What do you fear the most thinking about the Worlds ? Yourself ?
Each competition is a new one. I just try to stay focused and be positive all the time. Because we have to decide the strategy on tatami and, for me, it is not good to think before competition. I just like to think positive things and stay near good vibes people.
Ozcelik, Miyahar, Recchia, Plank : 4 different schools and styles. Which one do you prefer ? Do you fight them differently ?
I like all these girls and their styles. I like the kicks of Ozcelik, the great speed of Miyahara, the aggressive way of fighting of Recchia and the nice Gyaku of Plank. So, I like to watch these nice girls fighting.
Do you have time to do something else than Karate competition ?
I always dedicate my life to karate, I try to give 100% of my energy to Karate. And, today, I don’t have time to do other sport or study but, in my freetime, I like to stay with my family as much as possible.
Do you consider that Karate has changed a lot for the last 2 years, with the Olympics coming ?
Yes, now all countries have the same goal and all athletes et some help from their country to travel and to do a good preparation. All athletes are in their best shape and do good performances thanks of that, trying to qualify for the Olympics.
What Karate being an Olympic sport has brought you, has changed for you ?
For me, changes are very important. Now, I have all support from my Olympic committee and my federation. I am also sponsored by the army. So, now, I can only think in doing my best.