Nacif Elias: a potential medal for Lebanon

Elias Nacif (LIB), 19-21 February 2016 - Judo : Elias Nacif of Lebanon fight´s the men´s -81kg match during the IJF Grand Prix Dusseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Christian Fidler/AFLO)

The Lebanese judoka Nacif Elias who will participate in Rio for his first Olympic Games, set his goal to get on one of the three steps of the podium in his home country. 

The least we can say is that Nacif Elias is fearless, and for a good reason! The Lebanese judoka’s target is not only to win the gold medal in the 81 Kg category, but also to propel the country of his ancestors to the front of the international stage.

“I train harder than ever before. Today I can say that I am ready to win gold for Lebanon and for all those who believe in me and encourage me” the Brazilian site reporting on the one who trained all day of the week from 8 am in the morning to 21:30 at night.

Although he gladly says that all his competitors qualified for the Olympics Games all have the potential to go far in the competition, the fact remains that the main rivals in Brazil will be the Georgian Avtandili Tchrikishvili and the Japanese Takanori Nagase, respectively first and second in the world rankings for the category of 81 kg.

So beware of our national champion, at 28 has already an impressive record with a silver medal at the 2009 Francophone Games and a gold medal at the 2013 Francophone Games; a second place at the Asian Games in 2014; a gold medal at the Pan American Games in 2013 and finally two golden medals at the World Cup.

Who is Nacif Elias?

Born and brought up in Brazil, specifically in Vitória, in the region of Espírito Santo, Nacif Elias was naturalized Lebanese in 2013 after four years with the Brazilian national team with which he won five championships including the Brazil championship, the American Continent championship as a South American title.

Since his naturalization, Nacif Elias performs every year three or four trips to Lebanon, where he trains at the Buddha Club in Jounieh. Voted best Lebanese athletes in 2013 and 2014 by the Lebanese Olympic Committee, the Brazilian-born judoka benefits of full support of the National Federation of the discipline, which finances his competitions, movements and preparations. Let’s hope that this enthusiasm and intense preparation will pay in Brazil.

Nacif Elias’ Olympic program:

 The 1/32th round will begin Tuesday, August 9 at 15h (Paris time), they will be followed by the 16th round at 17:40, the 8th round at 19h, the quarter at 19:40, the semifinals at 21:30, the match for the third place at 21:40 and the final at 22:20.

What is judo?

Judo (or “the gentle way”) is a martial art and a Japanese combat sport (“Budo”), founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882. It consists essentially of projection techniques, ground control, constrictions and keys. The wish of Jigoro Kano, the founder, was to popularize a method to better utilize its physical and mental resources by taking as a starting point ju-jitsu.

The place where judo is practiced is called “dojo” (place of studying the path). The judokas carry a reinforced cotton outfit called “Judo-Gi”. The judogi is usually white, but for easier distinction at competitions may be blue. Judo is practiced barefoot on a tatami. Judo is an Olympic sport since 1964 for men and 1992 for women.