Sara Alvarez Menendez is the Sport Director for Judo at IBSA. World silver medallist (2001), European champion (2003, 2004) and having participated in the Olympic Games three times (1996, 2000, 2004), she has extensive experience in high-level sport and coaching. Her view of the IBSA Judo Grand Prix Baku 2023 is therefore first-rate.

"We really had a great competition here in Baku. We are growing at the same pace as the athletes. We get better and better at every event. Today para-judo is more solid than ever. Para-judo is growing and so are we all.

When things are easy, it becomes easier to improve. This is the best way to work. Thus I can tell you that at every competition things are getting easier. This would not be possible without the outstanding help from the International Judo Federation.

We are learning a lot. This is a valid statement for the organisers but also for the athletes. That learning process is very fast. You know, we are all competitors, so we like to compete and we love competition. We are understanding better and better how to improve.

We can say that from now on we have the highest standard of organisation for the highest ranked athletes in para-judo. We can thank many people for that but once again, the input from the IJF is invaluable. Since we have been working hand in hand with the IJF, everything has changed.

This is correct for us and the organisers; this is the case for the athletes as well, especially with the J1 category. 3 years ago, they were already good. Some would still train as amateurs, but now it is getting more professional, more organised, more focussed. We are all more professional and this benefits our para-judo family just as much as the global judo family."

See also