Christina Thomas is one of six American women scheduled to represent her country in judo at the upcoming IBSA World Games in Seoul that officially get underway in 19 days. She will be competing in the – 52 kg class, where she is currently ranked sixteenth in the world along with Russians Natalia Ovchinnikova and Ekaterina Buzmakova. None of the three have ranking points during 2014 or 2015. Thomas is currently the only ranked competitor in her class in the United States.
The Los Angeles, California native Thomas represented the United States at the 2013 ParaPan American Judo Championship, where she finished fourth in a four deep pool. Brazilian Michele Ferreira finished just ahead of her to win bronze. She represented the United States at the 2009 U.S. Open Championships for the Visually Impaired, where she lost a pair of matches to the German Carmen Brussig, but kept her spot on the United States team by virtue of being the only USA competitor in her class. 2009 was a standout year for Thomas, with a number of other good performances, including a first place finish at the Senior Nationals Blind Division, a first place finish at the ParaPan American Judo Championship, a second place finish at the Paralympics German Open and a second place finish at the Sr. US Open Blind Division. She trains at the Mojica Judo Club in Los Angeles.
Thomas attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has worked as a special education instructor. In 2010, she was part of a class action suit against United Airlines along with the National Federation of the Blind, Michael May and Michael Hingson. The suit alleged that “By deploying automated ticketing kiosks (“Kiosks”) in California airports that are inaccessible to blind customers, United is denying blind persons the use of Kiosks it offers non-disabled customers. United thus excludes the blind from full and equal access to mainstream technology used by countless airline passengers each day. ”
Judo is taking place at the Seoul Student Gymnasium, with competition officially getting underway on May 12 and running until May 15. Judoka will have the opportunity to start training on May 8, two days before the opening ceremony. Judo has been part of the IBSA World Championships and Games since the event’s inception, and has been on on the Paralympic program since 1988 when Seoul hosted the Games. Women’s judo was added to the Paralympic program in Athens at the 2004 Games.