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Spanish judoka María Bernabéu won the gold medal in the -70 kilos category of the XVIII Mediterranean Games in Tarragona.
María Bernabéu, one of the leading figures of Spanish judo, fifth in Rio 2016 and runner-up in the 2015 World Championship, has won the Gold medal in the -70 kilos category of the XVIII Mediterranean Games in Tarragona (June 2018).
The Spanish judoka, who started directly in the quarterfinals, won after defeating by ippon Algerian Bellakehal, Bosnian Samardzic and Italian Paissoni.
After winning the Bronze medal at the Budapest World Championship in September 2017, and having the meniscus operated a month later, Bernabéu lost the fight for the bronze medal of the Tel-Aviv European Championship in April.
“I DECIDED TO HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD”
María Bernabéu is Christian and she does not hesitate to give all the glory to God for her successes. In an interview with the Spanish public television program Buenas Noticias TV, she talked about how she lives her faith in Jesus Christ in the sports environment.
“I went to church, but I was not sure why I was going. Then, when I was 13, I understood who God was, and I decided by myself, not because my mother said so, to have a personal relationship with God”, she explained.
The turning point for Maria came when “I knew about the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. How, being sinless, He died for our sins, He died as a criminal when he did not deserve it [...] I said: I want this for my life, I want to be like that person who was willing to die for the human beings who did not deserve it”.
“PRAYING BEFORE A COMPETITION IS A MOTIVATION FOR ME”
“I am a Christian in the tatami and in my normal life, there is not separation, I bring my faith everywhere I go […] I have my own communion with God, which is what makes me who I am, not matter if I am in Paris, Japan, or any other place”, she told Buenas Noticias TV.
According to Bernabéu, “being able to pray before every competition is a motivation for me. It is not a routine, it is personal, like talking with a friend who encourages you”.
“My sport is an individual sport, you win or you lose, but I am not alone when I fight. God goes before me and I go behind Him, He is my strength, He knows what it is going to happen, so that is the biggest experience I can live”, the judoka pointed out.
“SUCCESS IS RECOGNISING THE LOVE OF GOD IN EVERYTHING WE DO”
Maria explained that her faith “is a surprise for my team mates, mainly because they think that I am so young to have such an eagerness for my faith. But they respect it, and some even ask me about my beliefs”.
“I am not the only Christian, so I encourage other Christians in sports to be proud of it, and to show the world our faith”, she said.
The Bible “is vital for me, it is the Word of God, my daily learning. If you are brave to read the Bible, you will see that it is as modern as the last film you can see in the cinema of your city”, Bernabéu commented.
“Being a woman of faith, living like God wants me to live, that is happiness for me. Success is not having a lot of money or being famous, but recognising the love of God in everything we do and say, in every step we take”, the Spanish judoka concluded.