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‘I had one dream’: Starlet Daria Bilodid issues emotional reaction after winning Ukraine’s first ever women’s Olympic judo medal

‘I had one dream’: Starlet Daria Bilodid issues emotional reaction after winning Ukraine’s first ever women’s Olympic judo medal
20-year-old judo sensation Daria Bilodid burst into tears in her national colors after scooping bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, admitting that she had been "depressed, broken and not in the mood" before remembering her mom's words.

The youngest ever world judo champion, despondent Bilodid admitted she had lacked initial motivation to go for bronze after being ruled out of contention for the finals at the showpiece.

Bilodid recovered to beat Israeli Shira Rishony and earn the first ever women’s Olympic judo medal for Ukraine, continuing a formidable year in which she had already taken bronze at the Judo World Masters and silver in her event at the Judo Grand Slam Tel Aviv.

"When I was six years old, I had one dream, which all these years was in my head and helped me to cope with difficulties," said the passionate supporter of Ukraine at Euro 2020.

"I dreamed of an Olympic gold medal. I trained a lot, starved, endured when it was very painful and denied myself.

"I never told anyone about this – only the closest people who saw how difficult my path were, know this. All for the sake of one Olympic gold.

"After losing [out on] reaching the finals, I was depressed, broken and not at all in the mood to fight for bronze, I wanted to give up all this, since my main dream had not come true. The mood was at zero.

"The only thing that motivated me was my mother's last words before entering the tatami: 'Win this medal for my sake.'

"And I did it for her and my dad. They deserve this medal and I dedicate it to them. Thank you, dear ones.

"You were always there, supported me when I wanted to give up and found the right words to keep me going."

Kosovo's Distria Krasniqi took gold, consigning Funa Tonaki, the Japanese competitor who beat Bilodid to the final two, to silver.

"Now I realize the value of this medal," said Bilodid, who went on to express her gratitude to a lengthy list of members of her judo team, friends and family.

"For me, it is reflected in gold, because we have gone through so many difficulties and obstacles and still reached the finish line – albeit not as we would like, but with a medal and history for life. I still have a dream and I will not let anyone take it away from me."

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