Ronald Hawthorne is one of 11 American men scheduled to represent his country in judo at the 2015 IBSA World Games in Seoul, Korea between May. 8-18. He will be competing in the men’s – 60 kg class. According to the 2015 IBSA Senior World Ranking List, he is ranked 21st.
The Kansas native judoka won a gold medal at the 2009 USA Judo Visually Impaired National Championships. He made his Paralympic debut at London 2012, and he finished seventh in the -60 kg class. Recently, he represented his country at the 2014 IBSA World Championships in Colorado Springs, the United States and the 2015 World Cup in Eger, Hungary. He won a bronze medal at the 2015 International German Judo Championships for the Blind and Visual-Impaired, organized by German Paralympic Committee this April.
His visual impairment is a result of optic nerve atrophy, sustained a head injury at age two. He took up judo, inspired by Atlanta 1996, when he was ten years old. 2000 Paralympic champion and head coach of the Team USA Scott Moore discovered his talent for the sport, after training sessions in 2010. Hawthorne has been training at the US Olympic Training Center since 2010.
It is the second time for Hawthorne to participate in the IBSA World Games, following the 2011 Games in Turkey. Judo is taking place at the Seoul Student Gymnasium, with competition officially getting underway on May 12 and runs until May 15. Judoka will have the opportunity to training starting on May 8, two days before the opening ceremonies.
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.