Dartanyon Crockett is one of 11 American men scheduled to represent his country in judo at the upcoming IBSA World Games in Seoul, Korea between May 10-17. Crockett will be competing in the – 90kg, where he is currently No.3 in the world. He is the topped rank competitor domestically.
The legally blind Crockett was born with Leber’s disease, resulting in acute vision loss. He initially played wrestling at high school, but he could not continue it at professional level, as it is not included at the Paralympic Games. At that time, Beth Bourgeois, USOC associate director of the U.S. Paralympics invited him, after watching his documentary “Outside the Lines” which featured the friendship between Crockett and his wrestling teammate Leroy Sutton who has his legs amputated. Former wrestler was encouraged by the US national team’s judo coach to take up the sport in 2010, and he has been training in Colorado Springs at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
Crockett has achieved outstanding results at many international tournaments. He won a bronze medal in the men’s -90kg at the 2012 Paralympics in London. In 2013, he took home silver and bronze at the IBSA Parapan American Championships and USA Judo International Championships, respectively. Last year, he claimed a gold medal at the IBSA Judo World Championships, held in his home country. Although London 2012 Paralympic bronze medallist represented his country at the 2015 World Cup in Eger, Hungary, his hope for a medal was thwarted by Spanish judoka. Now he is gearing up for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. “I have accomplished a lot and could be satisfied with that. But I am still working hard and want to win gold in Rio,” he told The Gazette.
Cleveland, Ohio native Crockett had a deprived childhood. He lost his mother at age eight, and his father was suffering from drug addiction. He studied a social work degree at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs with the aim of helping children like himself.
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 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.