Finland’s Kanerva Hoping For A Chance At The Olympics

Due to the coronavirus, judo competition has been on hold. Emilia Kanerva, however, sees something that can come out of it. A silver medalist in the World Championships and the Continental Cup, Kanerva is hoping to make it to the Olympics. With the Summer Games postponed to 2021 and the IJF expanding its qualifying period, Kanerva believes time is on her side.

“The 2020 Olympics would have been too soon for me to try to qualify since I had just recently changed to seniors but with the postponement, maybe I have a chance,” Kanerva told Judo Inside.

At only 21, Kanerva has proven to be a hot commodity in the judo world. Just becoming a senior, Kanerva has managed her training while also studying mathematics in school. While she is learning about numbers, her goal is to be a true judo star.

A competitor in the -63kg, Kanerva won several medals as a Finnish senior. As one of the top judokas, Kanerva has been preparing her life for judo. Normally training five to seven times a week with workouts twice a day, her commitment is otherworldly. Sometimes, sacrifices need to be made for Kanerva to be the best that she can be, something she embraces.

“Of course I have to make some sacrifices because I am training and competing a lot but I have never regretted any of that,” Kanerva went on to say. “I don’t have so much free time to do other things but that’s a choice I’ve made in order to pursue something I love. I get so much more out of judo than any sacrifices I’ve had to make.”

While Finland is small when it comes to judo, the competition is always strong. The government has helped her with funding for sponsorships, while the IJF has been supportive of her progress. Kanerva’s goal is to put Finland on the map when it comes to judo, something she has dreamed of since she was five. With her father by her side, the sky is the limit.

The eight values of judo always come into play when Kanerva is competing. It is more than just a hobby, it is something that Kanerva looks at as a way to compete with the very best and excel to be greater than expected.

“Judo is the most important thing in my life and everything I do revolves around it,” Kanerva said.

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