Robert Kim is one of 11 American men scheduled to represent his country in judo at May’s IBSA World Games in Seoul, Korea. Robert will be competing in the men’s -66kg.
Kim took up Judo at Menomonee Judo Club in Chicago, the United States in 2013. His judo techniques were influenced by his strong martial arts base. He has played taekwondo since the age of five, and he is a fifth degree black belt in hapkido. He won a silver medal in the men’s -66kg at the 2014 USA Judo Senior National Championships in Reno, Nevada. Thanks to this achievement, he was selected for an alternate in the national team, ahead of the 2014 IBSA World Championships. The 47-year-old made his international debut at the 2015 IBSA Judo World Cup in Eger, Hungary this February. He is aiming to make the podium at the IBSA World Games in Seoul, and his ultimate goal is to represent the United States at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Kim was diagnosed with rod-cone dystrophy, resulting in losing the central vision. His visual impairment forced him to stop competing in taekwondo in 1994. He completed the MS in Exercise Science and Cardiac Rehabilitation at Northeastern Illinois University. He has been in the health and fitness industry for more than 35 years, and he is still working as a personal trainer.
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.