Judoka Gabriella Wood is set to unleash more than five years of intense preparation, during her much-awaited debut performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.
The 23-year-old Wood, who resides in Great Britain, will spring into action on Thursday (July 29) against Maryna Slutskaya of Belarus in a round of 32, +78kg event at the Nippon Budokan Indoor Arena.
She will be one of 386 judokas competing in 15 events, seven each for both men and women, as well as a new mixed team event.
Wood, the first women's judoka to qualify for an Olympic Games told Guardian Media Sports recently that despite the jitters, it's her time to shine: "There is always a bit of nerve going into a judo contest, but it's good and it's bad because it helps you not to do stupid things but at the same time, it keeps you, I wouldn't say calm but it keeps a little on the edge on things, not too calm.
"I have prepared for this for the past five to six years of my life, so now is my moment to show myself," Wood said.
Wood, a former Holy Name Convent, Port-of-Spain student is currently ranked 72nd in the +78kg category, having earned her place in Tokyo as part of the Pan American quota of 11 competitors.
The T&T athlete is among judokas from 20 countries to compete alongside six refugee athletes.
Going up against an opponent who is seven years older than her, Wood could fancy her chances of an entry into the round of 16 where a contest against the winner between Tessie Savelkouls of the Netherlands or Mi-Jin Han of Korea, awaits her.
Wood said she intends to take it one step at a time.
"There is a lot of emotions and stuff involved in this. It has been a long, long road to get here and now to actually be here is incredible. Judo is a fairly an unpredictable sport where anything can happen on the day, so it's just to take it one match at a time."
Wood was born in Santa Cruz but was only introduced to the sport when she entered Maria Regina Grade School in Port-of-Spain at a tender age. However, she began taking the sport seriously when she entered form three at Holy Name Convent. Not long after she was registered as a member of Queen's Park Judo Club where she later came face-to-face with national coach Jesus Chavez.
It was not long after she became a household name on the local circuit before moving on to the international circuit where she earned a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Junior Open Championship in Panama, among many other tournaments.