Mongolian visually impaired judoka B.Uugankhuu brought Mongolia’s first medal from the Rio 2016 Paralympics, which commenced on September 7.

B.Uugankhuu seized a bronze medal in the men’s -60 kg event of B3 classification.

Visually impaired judokas are divided into three classifications of B1, B2, and B3. Athletes in B1 classification are totally blind, while B2 and B3 classification athletes are partially visually impaired.

In the first round, B.Uugankhuu defeated Brazilian judoka Mesquita Pontes Rayfran by ippon within two minutes and three seconds into the match.

In the second round, he lost to Japanese judoka Hirose Makoto by ippon.

In the repechage round, B.Uugankhuu beat Lee Minjae of South Korea. Afterwards, he defeated gold medalist of the London 2012 Paralympics, Ibrahimov Ramin of Azerbaijan by ippon within four seconds into the match to secure Mongolia’s first medal from this year’s Paralympics.

The following is an interview with Mongolia’s first Paralympic medalist in judo B.Uugankhuu.

Congratulations on bringing Mongolia’s first Paralympic medal in judo.

Thank you. I am very happy. I have waited for this moment for a long time. My goal was to become a Paralympic champion. But I feel good because I won against Paralympic champion Ibrahimov Ramin. I won’t undermine my achievement. It felt like a dream after defeating Ibrahimov Ramin.

I want to express my gratitude to the Mongolian National Paralympic Committee, Mongolia Para-Judo Federation, Physical Training and Sports Development Center, my family, friends and Mongolians.

What were you thinking of while you were standing on the medal podium?

I was thinking about my home country, family, friends, and athletes of the Mongolian national team. Now I understand that you harvest what you sow. There were moments I thought, “I can’t do it. So stop now.” But I didn’t give up.

I wanted to pinch myself to check whether I’m dreaming or not when I was standing on the medal podium. I am very excited.

I was confident that I would win a medal. Coach Ch.Bazarsuren said, “Everything will depend on you. Do your best.”

How long have you been training in judo?

I liked wrestling and combat when I was a kid. Coach Ya.Dorj taught me how to wrestle in 2008. Currently I am training under the guidance of coach of the national para-judo team Ch.Bazarsuren, B.Narantuya and coach of Garuda Club O.Bold-Erdene.

I achieved success thanks to these people.

There were times I got tired when I first started training in judo. But I like this sport. Every athlete faces issues, not only I. We have to be patient and do the things we like.

With whom do you live with?

I live with my wife and one-year-old daughter in Ulaanbaatar. My mother lives in Sainshand, Dornogovi Province.