Jeff Mata is one of 11 American men scheduled to represent his country in judo at May’s IBSA World Games in Seoul, Korea. Mata will be competing in the men’s -73kg. According to the 2015 IBSA Senior World Ranking, he is currently ranked 25th, as he has not had ranking points yet. He is ranked second domestically.
California native Mata has competed at the 2014 National President’s Cup Judo Championships, where he finished second. He represented the United States at the 2015 IBSA Judo World Cup in Eger, Hungary.
His visual impairment is a result of retinal detachment in 2009. “My retina kind of shook off, so it leaves you with no vision in your eyes,” he told San Diego 6. The-32-year-old took up judo in San Diego in 2013. He initially began to play Brazilian jiu jitsu, because his friend suggested the sport to him who was depressed, after losing vision. He has competed at the 2014 Los Angeles International Jiu Jitsu Open. “Practicing judo and Brazil jiu jitsu gives me the drive to move forward in my life,” he said.
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 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 Seoul 1988. Women’s judo was added to the Paralympic program in Athen at the 2004 Games.