Catarina Costa: “Always with judo in mind”

Winning mentality: meet Catarina Costa

She has just won another gold medal and next year she’s going to the Olympic Games. She studies medicine at the University of Coimbra, trains hard and meets a lot of new friends abroad. Her name is Catarina Costa, she is the Portuguese judoka, who now cannot imagine her life without this sport. Surprisingly enough, Catarina’s judo story began only when she was 11 years old. And back then she had never heard about this kind of martial arts. 


Catarina’s future coach saw her playing football with the boys and offered her to try judo. “I’m a very curious person. I just gave it a try and since that day I’ve never stopped doing it” — she claims.


Catarina is most grateful to her coaches — João Abreu, who discovered her talent and invited her to the first judo training, and João Neto. She adds that achieving great results would be impossible without them and her judo club Académica de Coimbra as well, where she met her best friends. 


“It’s more than sports” — that’s how Catarina describes judo. She is in love with it as it allows to improve yourself and make so many new friendships. 


Judo played a pivotal role in forming Catarina’s personality. She has always been a shy girl, but judo made her self-confident and open-minded. 


Catarina is now reaching the top level in sports, and she continues studying medicine at the same time. Next year Catarina is going to take part in the Olympics. Therefore she plans to take a break at the university for one semester and prepare herself for this goal. What’s then? She’ll do her best to finish the university successfully, in 2024 Catarina will participate in the Olympic Games again.


“I don’t know what speciality I would have in the future. I like to improve myself, keep learning, but always with judo in mind. Always” — declares Catarina.


For the Portuguese judoka, sports and medical studies complement each other. Self-discipline from judo helps her keep calm during the university exams, and dealing with stress while studying also helps with controlling emotions while performing. Catarina knows how to stay confident and set new goals:


“In my mind, I’m always the winner. The only pressure I have is the one I put on myself”.


Yulia Kovalenko