White Elephant Judo Academy reaches 50 years

Diário do Comércio - Minas é o nosso negócio!

In Brazil, some businesses are able to complete 50 years. This is even more rare in enterprises dedicated to sports. The feats celebrated this time belong to the White Elephant Judo Academy located in the Barroka neighborhood of the West Region. Maestre Antonio Oliveira Costa’s life-long work was realized only because of the tireless support of his wife, Maria Salvador, or, simply, Cotinha, when they still lived in Rio de Janeiro.

“Judo was prescribed to me as a medicine because I had a wild life. But it was thanks to him that I devoted myself and was able to heal myself. I was a representative of a large laboratory and I came to Belo Horizonte with the mission of selling contraceptives. At that time a very difficult mission no one else wanted to come. I accepted for a much larger commission than the money I made in Rio de Janeiro, and with this money I started dreaming of building a gym that could serve people who could not pay ”, Costa Let’s remember

And with so much dedication, Master had a long career as a martial arts teacher. He went to Japan several times – where he became friends with some of the sport’s veterans – and reached the Olympic selection of Brazilian judo, where he trained a good portion of our medalists, among them Aurio Miguel and Rogerio Sempio . The four Olympics were: Seoul (South Korea), in 1988; Barcelona (Spain), in 1992; Atlanta (United States), in 1996; And Sydney (Australia), in 2000.

Medals – Judo is the individual sport that gave Brazil the most Olympic medals. 22, four of them are gold, three silver and 15 bronze. This victorious history began in 1972 when Chiaki Ishii of Brazil won the bronze at the Munich Games in the light heavyweight category. After 12 years, Brazil returned to the podium. And three medals soon followed. Silver heavyweight was also highlighted for the first time by Douglas Vieira at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. It was the first time someone had reached the final of the Brazil Olympics. Walter Carmona and Luis Onmura won bronze in the same edition. The first Olympic gold in Judo, Brazil came at the 1988 Seoul Games with light heavyweight Aurelio Miguel.

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At the most recent Games held in Brazil in 2016, Brazilian judo once again showed its strength. First, in the women’s lightweight (57 kg) with Rafaela Silva. He is the only Brazilian Olympic and world champion judoka. On the austerity day of the Rio 2016 Games, Myra Aguir won her second Olympic bronze and also recorded her name in the history of the game as the only female judoka ever to climb the Olympic podium twice. To close, Rafael Silva also achieved a bronze double in the men’s heavyweight division.

“In the United States, I was considered a ‘person of higher knowledge’. We stayed in Macon, Georgia for 45 days to indict Judo. Here in Brazil, I was involved in SIDED DOS MENINO (Social Work for Children at Social Risk, Belo Horoset at the age of 17 – in the metropolitan area of ​​RBS, maintained by Sociedade São Vicente de Paulo in Ribeiro das Neves). Been school champion eight years from Minas Gerais. The Department of Education considered us a model school . Despite this I never got support from the government. I was received by all secretaries, I heard many promises but nothing was effective. Here in Belo Horizonte and Contagem (in RBS) the land was chosen, but , For different reasons, the donation has never progressed ”, thanking Swami.

Challenges – Nevertheless, the school stands. Accustomed to facing the countless crises Brazil has faced over the last 50 years, the couple persevered even during the Kovid-19 epidemic. Without time for remorse, the decision was to be strictly followed and the protocol recommended by the World Health authorities without concessions. Since March, none of the 210 students – only 82 paying students – have set foot in the gym or paid tuition.

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“I miss the students and their parents, me. I did not take any kind of online classes. I am afraid of this electronic paradox. As long as we can, we will. This is in our law: the monthly fee is 20% of the minimum wage for those who can pay. I still want land. I want to build a school for those who cannot afford it ”, says the teacher.

Sarah Gracie

About the author: Sarah Gracie

Sarahis a reporter covering Amazon. She previously covered tech and transportation, and she broke stories on Uber's finances, self-driving car program, and cultural crisis. Before that, she covered cybersecurity in finance. Sarah's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Politico, and the Houston Chronicle.

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