We caught up with 2010 world champion and 2011 world silver medallist NISHIDA Yuka (JPN) in Tokyo.

IJF: What was your reason/s for retiring in 2016?

NY: During the first match of the Kodokan cup in 2016, I found myself not having the will to fight. I didn’t feel the fire anymore. In this moment I realized that I was done with my athletic career. I retired with no regrets. 

IJF: What have you been up to since retiring? What is your job?

NY: I am currently a professor at Nihon University, and coach of the Women’s Judo Team.

IJF: Are you still connected with the IJF tour? Do you watch events live? What do you think of it? 

NY: I watch the IJF World Judo Tour online! I have also had the opportunity to commentate it on the Japanese TV (on the J Sports channel). 

I have close friendships with MONTEIRO Telma from Portugal and LIEN Chen-Ling from Chinese Taipei, so I follow their matches closely. My favourite from Japan will have to be HAMADA Shori with her exciting Judo style. Win or lose, she is always a treat to watch.

My former category, 52kg has many great players, specifically SHISHIME Ai, ABE Uta, and KELMENDI Majlinda. They have demonstrated that they can consistently preform at a very high level. The World Championships in Tokyo this year will definitely be one of the biggest stepping stones to Tokyo 2020.

IJF: What will be your involvement at the 2019 Worlds and 2020 Olympics?

NY: I am not directly involved with the All Japan National Team. However, I hope that my athletes at Nihon University will be inspired by these events, and one day rise to the occasion and participate in these world level competitions. 

IJF: What is your dads involvement in the sport? 

NY: My father was a national champion and men’s team coach for Japan. My younger brother was also national University Champion. Both are now coaches at Yamanashi Gakuin University. 

My husband is also is a Judo coach at a university. Judo runs in the family!

IJF: How will you stay involved in judo in the future?

NY: I believe judo has two main components: sport(competition) and education. 

As a University sensei it is my duty to develop my students into strong, competitive Judokas. More importantly, through the process of training and competition, I hope that my athletes gain the tools they need to succeed outside the dojo.

Judo has been my lifelong passion, and I will naturally stay involved to spread this passion to others. 

IJF: What are your goals in the future?

NY: Many, but right now, I want to have an athlete who can one day compete at the Olympics and surpass me.

Click here to watch Nishida in action!

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