Michelle Jorgensen has been selected for 2020 Pan-Am Champs

Blind judoka's Pan-Am goal

Getting to green belt level in judo is a challenge, but having been born legally blind, challenge is something that Michelle Jorgensen is no stranger to.

Now, the talented judoka has been selected to go to the 2020 IBSA Judo Pan-American Championships in Montreal. 

On top of being a major event, the championships also give athletes the opportunity to earn points for selection to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics Games. 

Jorgensen only took up judo in September 2018, but her strong background in Brazilian jiu jitsu made it an easier transition and gave her a good foundation to work from. 

In fact, judo and jiu jitsu aren't her only sports. Jorgensen also does Muay Thai kickboxing, boxing and wrestling.

She's hoping to win big at the Pan-Ams and make some new friends. 

"I was pretty excited (when I found out) but I was just looking at it like 'hey, I get another competition,' because being just over a year into judo, I still don’t fully get the scope of how big this is. I know it’s big, I know it’s an Olympic qualifier, I know it’s a huge event and a huge deal, but I still don’t fully understand just how big this is going to be... My aim is to make weight and get the gold, and have fun and meet some cool people.

"I just feels great to be able to do the sport that I love with the people that I love being around. It’s amazing to have this opportunity that not many people get to have."

Lake Country Judo Club owner and previous world judo champion Kathy Hubble has walked in Jorgensen's shoes and is doing all she can to prepare her for January's event. 

"All the pre-Olympics qualifiers like the world championships and the Pan-Am Games – I went to all of those and I had a great time travelling around the world – so it's really cool to see it from the other side now as the coach. I'll be able to help coach Michelle through all the ins and outs because I've been there, so it's kind of exciting to be on the other side of it and just be cheering her on, and be one of her fans."

Jorgensen flies to Montreal Jan. 12 for the championships. 

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