Débora Menezes secures silver in parataekwondo at the Paralympics — Photo: Wander Roberto/CPB
In the first round, the Uzbek Guljonoy Naimova opened the advantage over the Brazilian with 4-0. Débora reacted in the second round, but the opponent continued to lead the scoreboard by 6 to 3. The Brazilian was unable to turn the score in the final round, and the victory went to Uzbekistan 8-4.
Débora Menezes was defeated in the final and took silver — Photo: Wander Roberto/CPB
In the K44 category, for athletes with limitations of only one side of the body, in the leg or arm, the Brazilian started her campaign in Tokyo with the victory in the first fight against the Mexican Daniela Martínez, 24 to 12. In the semifinal, she dominated the fight and beat Ukrainian Yuliya Lypetseka 55-10.
The 31-year-old athlete is from São Paulo and joined parataekwondo in 2013. Débora was world champion in 2019, in Turkey, and silver at the Parapan American Games in Lima, in the same year. The Brazilian received the Olympic Brazil Award for Best Parataekwondo Athlete of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2019 by the Brazilian Paralympic Committee.
Brazil’s excellent performance in parataekwondo is due to the work of Rodrigo Ferla. At the end of 2017, Rodrigo took over the technical coordination of the sport and was looking to assemble a team that could fight for medals in the 2020 Games.
– We create goals year by year to classify athletes for Tokyo and maybe fight for medals. We carried out important actions such as classifier courses and we promoted parataekwondo in almost all states. With more athletes showing up, more chances we had to work athletes – explained about the work done in the Tokyo cycle.