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Prisca Awiti-Alcaraz a new start with Mexico
6 Jul 2020 09:55
In 2017 British-born Prisca Awiti-Alcaraz switched countries to Mexico. Since then she has slowly but surely fought her way up the Olympic rankings now only one place separates her before the direct qualification. With Diana Süß she talked about why only started Judo because of an argument and why she almost stopped. Furthermore, about the hurdles of the change and the long-term goals.
How an argument and a test made her a Judoka
“I actually did Gymnastics before. I did Gymnastics from when I was three and I did it also under 12s national level. My older brother did Judo and Gymnastics and then he stopped with Gymnastics to focus on Judo. So, we had an argument which sport is harder Judo or Gymnastics. Since I never had done Judo, I started to do a bit of Judo but only once a week because I was still training Gymnastics three times a week. At some point I had tests done and they said I would be too tall for Gymnastics. So, I started doing just Judo. It was the backup; it wasn’t my first choice.”
New country, new team, new language
“I was on the verge of stopping Judo. I was out for six months with an injury and previously I had a head injury, which took me out for 8 months. It wasn’t going great and I wasn’t at the national centre, I decided to study and train in Bath. My coach approached me and asked if I had a Mexican passport and to look in the possibility of that. Afterwards I messaged the Head Coach of Mexico and from there it took around three months to make the change. I already had a Mexican passport from when I was little, so I started the process in July and my first competition for Mexico was in October.
I think at first the Mexican Team wasn’t so sure about a girl coming over to Mexico and starting to fight for the country. But they were the nicest team, really friendly and made me feel very welcome. The language was another problem. My Spanish wasn’t the best, so it was the hardest thing to overcome. Especially with the coaching. It is already hard when you’re tired in a match and someone is shouting in English, so now I’m tired in a match and someone is shouting at me in Spanish and I have to translate it into English. At first that was really frustrating. But then I trained and lived in Mexico for 7 months of last year. My Spanish got a lot better and I got closer with the team.”
The long-term goal is the Olympic Games in Paris
“When I changed over in 2017 it was more thought as get the experience now and focus on the Olympics in 2024. But when I changed over it feels like all happened so quickly, I fought my first competition for Mexico, two months later I fought my first Grand Slam and it just went on like that. My first Grand Slam I placed 7th place that got me up but then I got some 7th places or lost in the first or second round towards the end of 2019 it got better, and I placed 5th in the Budapest GP and the Abu Dhabi GS.
If I qualify for the Olympics 2021, I will see how it feels like. As for now I am really excited because it was such a short period since I started the qualification. The first time I realised the Olympics are a big possibility was after my 5th place in Budapest. I thought when I get into medal fights now, I could qualify for the Olympic Games. It always has been a dream of mine, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Anything can happen in Judo which is a great thing but also can be a terrible thing. So, I just try to take it bit by bit. My results were better when I that mind frame of just each opponent as they come rather than the Olympics.”
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