Ronda won her fight against Bethe Correia on Saturday with a 34 second knockout in the first round. Ronda continues to break many barriers regarding women especially in combat sports. She had made a promise a week before her fight that she would leave the belt in Brazil.
As a judoka of 9 years, I knew of her contact and previous visits to our Sports Complex here in Rocinha. In March she was here training and showing off her moves to some of the students. She also donated a check of 30,000US to Instituto Reacao the project organized by Flavio Canto a famous Judoka who won a bronze medal in 2004 Athens Greece Olympics.
In the year 2000 Flavio starting giving Judo classes in Rocinha as a volunteer of a project called "Educacao Crianca Futuro" (Education Child Future). This project was originally created by Pedro Gama Filho one of Flavio's mentors. The project was financed by the city government but after a certain time, the support was gone. Flavio has always known that the favelas have so much potential and wanted to continue on with his Judo project.
Instituto Reacao was created by Flavio in 2003 as a NGO to promote social inclusion through sport education, specifcally Judo. About 800 people from Rocinha currently benefit from this project. The idea is to use sport as an educational instrument of social transformation to create black belts both on and off the tatame (mats).
IR has been in operation for 12 years with the mission of integrating sport, education and breaking down social class barriers that often favela residents suffer from. Current there are three schools, Rocinha, City of God, and Deodoro who benefit from IR activities.
IR has produced Champions such as Rafaela and sister Raquel Silva, Cristiano Oliveira, Jessica Pereira, Rodrigo Borges, Wallace Alves, Danielle Ferreira, Julia Santana and Roberta Texeira. There is a large talent pool so there are many junior champions coming up as well. Its a grrat project and as you can see the facility is huge with a matted space to easily fit over 30 Judoka training at the same time. To the right of the foto below is a gym where athletes have access to state of the art equipment and training.
Media setting up 30 minutes before Ronda's arrival.
Ronda Arrives beside Flavio Canto
It was awesome to see such a great turn out for this. I know Instituto Reacao and all of the Judo practitioners appreciate all the visits from Rhonda. Thank you Ronda for your thoughtful gift. Hopefully youth can be inspired onto sucess both on and off the mat through this project!