“It’s always difficult to compete against a Japanese opponent,” Silva told IJF Media in the Mixed Zone. “I’m happy with this victory and this first gold, but also satisfied with every round on the tatami today.”
The judoka with the golden backpatch had some extra wings on her back during her match day as her first coach, 76-year old Geraldo Bernardes, former coach of the Brazilian Judo Team, was supporting his pupil from the bleachers here in Baku.
“I started training with Geraldo when I was eight years old. I’m so happy he could witness winning my first Grand Slam gold,” says Silva.
"At 8 years old, Rafaela came to my ‘Instituto Reação’ from a poor community and I noticed from the very first moment that I had a rough diamond in my hand. I saw Rafaela become a world champion in Rio de Janeiro in 2013 and then becoming the first Brazilian Olympic judo champion in Rio 2016. This for me was a great emotion. And now gold at a Grand Slam. Fantastic!,” exclaims a happy Geraldo Bernardes.