The first day of competition of the IBSA Judo Grand Prix Antalya 2024 was marked by the victory of Kapil Parmar (IND) in the J1 -60 kg category. This performance is both historic and bodes very well for the next Paralympic Games. The day after his gold medal, Kapil looked back on what made the difference.

"I felt really good and winning was incredible. When I realised that my flag would rise in the air, I was ecstatic. Competing was an unbelievable experience. When you don't see, it's a special moment to step on the tatami. You have to rely entirely on your feelings and on the coach. He is the one who tells you what to do and where to go. You have to be fully confident. I could recognise his voice in any situation. Yesterday he told me the exact time when I needed to attack and we elaborated the strategy together."

The role of the coach is very important. Munawar Anzar was Kapil's coach yesterday. "Every action is based on the words that I can find. They need to be right. Yesterday they were and that's amazing. Half of the performance is based on words, the other half is the feelings of the athlete. Kapil had really good feelings. People must understand that without sight, the judoka must be guided so they understand the place and the volume. Everything is in the mind. For days before the competition, we recognise every corner of the venue, from the field of play of course, to the warm-up area and the bathroom as well. Kapil needed to know where he was. Then it's a matter of having the right perception and in the end, everything comes naturally.

Then, it comes to the judo itself and here the coach plays a special role. At the very beginning we have to show with our hands what a technique looks like. I have to take Kapil's hands and feet and move them accordingly so he can feel what is going on. Then he has to integrate that into his body posture."

Kapil Parmar and his coach, Munawar Anzar

Umesh Kumar, Technical Chairman at the Indian Blind and Para Judo Association, was in the stands when Kapil Parmar won and we could hear him screaming with joy when the gold medal was secured. "It was just wonderful. Kapil has been training so hard for many years. We were a little worried because he had a small injury but in the end everything went according to plan. When the final came, the hardest part was already done and he felt pretty comfortable.

Happy Indian team

Kapil comes from a poor background in the city of Sehore, Madhya Pradesh. His father has a tea store and when he was young, he used to help his dad. He quickly became interested in sport and eventually he came to try judo. He loved it immediately. After the Indian Blind and Para Judo Association was established in 2010, he joined us and started to work really hard. Kapil is a calm and cool person, who doesn't do anything to compromise his training. Today he is supported by the government and can focus only on sport."

The next stop is the Paralympic Games in Paris at the end of the summer, "I want to win the gold medal in Paris and create history for Indian para-judo." This is all we can wish for, for Kapil Parmar, who went on to enjoy a little bit of the city of Antalya, before getting back to his preparation for the Games.

See also