Place of Birth: Coimbra, Portugal
University: University of Coimbra (POR)
Published: 15 June 2018
Briefly describe how and why did you get involved in Judo?
My first contact with judo was at school. I'm a sports lover, and I always wanted to play at my school football’s club, but when I asked my physical education’s teacher he said it was only for boys. I got sad because I really enjoyed that sport, but one day my actual coach saw me playing with my friends and asked me if I wanted to try judo. My first reaction was “Judo, what's that ?“ I didn't know anything about that sport and it was what motivates me to try it. I just feel in love!
"The city is absolutely beautiful and the atmosphere between athletes will be awesome."
What do you study? How do you balance your study, trainings and competition?
I'm a medicine student since 2014. First year was a little hard because of the shock of going to university. But then I was managed to balance everything quite well. Now I'm doing partial time, so I have a lot more time to do everything. I can go to classes at morning, gym at midday, classes again after lunch, study a bit in the afternoon and judo training at night. I also have a special schedule, which allows me to choose the most convenient time to have my classes. The most difficult part is when I travel for a couple of weeks. I skip the classes and lose the subjects, luckily I got some fantastic friends who have always helped me with that.
Tell us about your experience of the European Universities Championships 2017. Is this your first time at an EUSA event?
European University Championships was just a perfect and happy competition for me. I managed to overcome myself and win the gold medal, becoming European Champion in my hometown. Was truly a fantastic moment that I will remember forever, specially because I had all my club, family and friends there, supporting me.
"Don't give up on your sport dreams just because you want to go to university, pursuit them!"
Why do you think university sport events are important?
University sport events are really important because there are some good students-athletes that never had the opportunity to compete at an international level and with this they got that chance. They also keep motivated to work harder to achieve the goal to participate in this kind of event. Also because it's a way to promote sports among university students and youngsters, which is something often forgotten but very important in a healthy lifestyle.
In 2018 the European Universities Games will take place in your hometown, what can you say to athletes that are coming to Coimbra? What do you expect from the tournament?
I can only say that they will have an amazing experience in Coimbra. The city is absolutely beautiful and the atmosphere between athletes will be awesome. I expect a very well organised tournament with good athletes and a great spirit. Hope I can see some of my “international judo friends” and save lots of good memories of that day.
This is your chance! What is your message to European students like yourself?
It's possible to have a “dual career” and do both with passion. The high level is not easy, but for sure is worth it. We learn how to be more organised with our time and we have the a chance, that many don't have, to travel the world. Study is very important, but so it is sports. Don't give up on your sport dreams just because you want to go to university, pursuit them!
EUSA would like to congratulate Catarina for her success last year and we hope to see her very soon, at European Universities Games Coimbra 2018!