CHICAGO — It's likely no one in Illinois was happier than Sarah Chung that Russia's Paralympics team was disqualified from this year's Games in Rio.
Chung, who is legally blind and is ranked eighth in the world in the +70-kilogram division, has her first match Saturday. She was chosen to represent Team USA because she had the most world ranking points other than a Russian who was not scheduled to compete.
"I can't even begin to express my excitement about being here in Rio," Chung wrote in an email from Brazil on Thursday, a day after she participated in the Games' opening ceremony at the Maracana stadium. "I am training hard with my teammates and don't plan on doing anything less than my best at competition."
Brett Wolf, a Francis Parker School graduate and the head coach and director of the Menomonee Judo Club, said Chung is the first Olympian or Paralympian in the club's history. Wolf arrived in Brazil on Thursday and will serve as Chung's personal coach, although not on the mat during competitions because he did not have enough time to acquire the proper credentials.
"This is truly a club accomplishment for us," Wolf, of West Ridge, said Tuesday before leaving for Brazil. "This was the goal. We knew we wanted to qualify someone for Rio 2016, Olympics or Paralympics."
Chung, of suburban Crystal Lake, spends two hours each way taking trains and buses to the judo club. She also studies Downtown at Adler University's school of psychology. She also graduated from Northern Illinois University.
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