March 21 – International Down Syndrome Day
Athlete overcomes prejudices and has a goal to participate in international tournaments in 2023
Photo: Personal archive
Elaine Vieira – special for the Diário
This March 21, World Down Syndrome Day, formalized by the United Nations (UN) in 2012, not only celebrates the lives of people who have the syndrome, but also talks about rights, inclusion and the possibility of people with Down being and doing whatever they want. This year’s goal for Matheus Domingues Moreira, 18 years old, is to complete the entire circuit of competitions of the Brazilian Confederation of Inclusive Judô (ABJI) and return to international competitions, especially the 23rd edition of the tournament in Beverwijk, Holland, of Special Needs Judo Foundation and Special Needs World Judo Games.
Down syndrome is a genetic alteration in which the person has three chromosomes in the 21st pair, and not two, as usual. Therefore, the syndrome is also called trisomy of chromosome 21, or simply T21. According to the Ministry of Health, this chromosomal alteration is the most common among people.
The change did not prevent Matheus, with a lot of willpower and encouragement, from getting involved with the sport and becoming a judoka affiliated with the Judo Federation of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FJERJ).
“Her biggest challenge was when, as a baby, she was diagnosed with a heart valve that would not close on its own and would require surgery. But, God reserved for him one of the best medical teams in this matter and everything was resolved. After that, he underwent physiotherapy and, after a while, he began to practice sports in his swimming life”, comments André Moreira, the young man’s father.
Before that, the athlete also took football lessons, a sport he is passionate about and a fan of Fluminense and Barcelona. “However, the football experience was disastrous because Matheus was unable to develop due to prejudice between students and the children’s parents”, says André.
Matheus started practicing judo at age 8. His debut in official competitions was in the 1st Stage of Judo for All in Rio de Janeiro – Breno Viola Trophy in 2014. And since then he has been standing out in more than 40 competitions in municipalities in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Santa Catarina, in addition to the 20th Edition of the tournament in Beverwijk in the Netherlands in 2018.
The athlete was literate at the age of 10. He is currently attending the 9th grade of elementary school at the Fábrica do Saber Municipal School, where he accompanies a regular class. During the week, he also does weight training at the gym.
With the support of the whole family, Matheus’s greatest encouragement comes from his mother, Valéria Domingues, who also practices judo and makes a point of accompanying her son’s training and competitions.
Focused and dedicated, it is in sport that André sees the opportunities for Matheus’ life.” He loves Judo to the point of waking up and asking if it’s training day. In competitions he concentrates on what he’s going to do, he takes it seriously, although he respects it, he doesn’t like defeat and charges himself for it.
The athlete will participate in the 23rd Edition of the Tournament in Beverwijk, Holland, of the Special Needs Judo Foundation and Special Needs World Judo Games, which takes place from April 14th to 16th of this year – specialized competitions for athletes with disabilities. To pay for the trip, the family is running a campaign to sell skipping ropes. To help, just contact the numbers (24) 98869-1208 or (24) 98869-0812. The pix is CPF 125.169.337
Over time, one of the goals of CS Bronx Powerlifting Club Bacău has been the promotion of judo as a basic tool in a harmonious development, which guarantees not only social inclusion, but, above all, a harmony between body, mind and emotions. In the vast majority of cases, a child who practices judo is a happy child, a child who has understood the principles by which activity in the dojo is guided and who, in relation to others, will always apply the moral code introduced by Jigoro Kano: politeness, courage, sincerity, honor, modesty, respect, self-control and friendship.
CS Bronx Powerlifting Club Bacău has been working with children and young people with impairments since 2016, when the club’s first visually impaired athletes stepped confidently on the mat. In 2022, the project “Judo is played, WHAT DO YOU SAY?” strengthened the Special Needs section of the club not only by attracting new coaches and partners from outside the country, such as the Special Needs Judo Foundation, to join the initiative to promote adapted judo in educational institutions where children and young people with special needs are enrolled , for which judo could become the path to an assumed normality, courage, effort, joy and full self-acceptance, but also by organizing the International Tournament “Judo is playing, WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?” and by the participation of the club’s Special Needs athletes in more and more national and international competitions.
After the first gold medals obtained at the Special Needs National Championship Cluj-Napoca and at the European Special Needs Judo Festival Poschiavo, from 2022, sisters Denisa and Nicoleta Oprea will participate, between April 14-16, 2023, at the Special Needs World Judo Games in the Netherlands , where they promise to give their best and conquer the podium. Mărioara Adochiței, one of the club’s oldest athletes, will also participate in the competition, for whom judo, beyond sport, is a way of being, behaving and dreaming of the future. The three athletes practice judo out of passion, and when they are on the mat, they feel more confident, more creative and freer to express themselves. The girls were also some of the core volunteers in the project “Judo is playing, CE Spui?”,
“Our biggest dream in Holland is to be able to give our best, to discover new things, to have more confidence in what we have learned and in the skills we have formed in the gym, but and let’s make friends. And, more than that, we dream of qualifying for the Special Olympics World Games 2023, in Berlin, precisely to make those who supported us proud of us and to demonstrate what Bronx Sport Club means”, said Mărioara, athlete CS Bronx Powerlifting Club Bacău.
Sensei Haruki Uemura is the man in the hot seat currently. His name can be found in the record books easily as it has been listed next to a 1976 Montreal Olympic gold medal and not one but two world titles. With these qualifications and an obvious passion for judo, he is an essential part of the preservation of judo’s core values, the upholding of tradition and the route to the next stage of judo’s development.
SNJF receives many questions about the tournament through various channels. These may be interesting for the other participants. You can find the answers on these pages. Please check back once in a while; especially the COVID-measures change quite often.
What is the closing date for the subscription?
- The closing date is March 1st, 2022. One week before we will send a reminder mail.
What is the position of SNJF with regards to the Corona rules?
- Our opinion of the rules is not really relevant. However, the Dutch government exercises severe consequences on organisers that do not adhere to their rules. We will therefore enforce those rules to the fullest extent.
I am not vaccinated. Can I participate?
- Please wait to see how the rules will develop, mid-March we will issue a statement on the latest developments.
Can I take pictures during the tournament?
- Yes, but you cannot use flash (we have photosensitive participants with epilepsy) and you cannot enter the tatami, this is reserved for the SNJF Media Team
What about published pictures?
- Entering into this tournament means you implicitly agree with being photographed. Of course, if there is a picture you really do not want to see after publication then please email email@example.com and we will, within reasonable limits, remove your picture. This can only be done if you yourself, or someone under your legal charge is in the picture.