In June, during a judo training ses­sion, Andreas Krassas suf­fered a lig­a­ment tear in his right ankle, lim­iting his ability to spar, to even walk without a limp. His doctor advised him to rest and recover, to relin­quish his hope of win­ning gold at the 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games, which were to be held one month later in Glasgow, Scot­land. But Krassas did not follow his doctor’s orders, did not cancel his flight to Glasgow, did not waver in his com­mit­ment to return to his home country of Cyprus without hard­ware in hand.

A lot of doubts crossed my mind,” recalls Krassas, DMSB’17, “but I had faith that all the training I had done leading up to the point of injury would pay off.”

Krassas, unde­terred by the serious injury, arrived in Glasgow a few days before the start of the com­pe­ti­tion, one of 4,950 ath­letes from more than 70 nations and ter­ri­to­ries in the Com­mon­wealth. Over the next two weeks, these finely-​​tuned phys­ical spec­i­mens put on a show for hun­dreds of mil­lions of viewers, com­peting in more than a dozen sports, from boxing and bad­minton to weightlifting and wrestling.

Judo, for its part, is a modern mar­tial art, a sport cre­ated in Japan in 1882 by edu­cator Kanō Jigorō. The aim of a judo prac­ti­tioner, known as a judoka, is to score points by throwing his oppo­nent to the ground or immo­bi­lizing him with arm locks, holds, or strangles.

Krassas started strong in his pur­suit of judo gold in the –66kg weight class, win­ning four con­sec­u­tive matches en route to the final against Eng­lishman Colin Oates, ranked No. 7 in the world. But he lost and was forced to settle for silver, a bit­ter­sweet con­ces­sion for an ath­lete who trains twice a day, six times a week.

I felt that I was stronger and more tech­nical on my feet than my oppo­nent and he must have felt the same, since he looked to take the fight to the ground,” Krassas recalls. “Even­tu­ally, he man­aged to bring the fight to the ground and catch me in an arm lock sub­mis­sion, which won the match.”

Despite the set­back, Krassas now plans to begin the two-​​year qual­i­fying process to com­pete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Making Cyprus’ Olympic team, he says, would be a dream come true, noting, “It would give me a feeling of accom­plish­ment that nothing else could.”

Krassas, 23, found judo when he was just 5 years old. Back then, his deci­sion to take up the sport stemmed from his desire to mimic the indomitable ath­letic prowess of his grand­fa­ther, an unde­feated Greco-​​Roman wrestler. Since 2011, Krassas has trained under Minas Mina, an expert in bio­me­chanics at the Uni­ver­sity of Derby Buxton in Eng­land. In prepa­ra­tion for a big event, he trains with the Israeli Men’s Judo Team, one of Europe’s strongest squads.

The most com­pelling aspect of the sport, he says, is the unex­pected twists and turns inherent in vir­tu­ally every single match. “The match can change or even end in the blink of an eye,” says Krassas, who suc­cumbed to Oates halfway into the five-​​minute fight. “That kind of variety keeps me excited for training and competing.”

If any­thing, his second-​​place finish in Glasgow has moti­vated him to hone his tac­tical reper­toire, to focus on judo for the fore­see­able future. “I’m very excited to grad­uate from North­eastern and pursue a busi­ness career,” says Krassas, a second-​​year busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion major with a finance con­cen­tra­tion, “but now is the time for me to pursue judo with more con­vic­tion than ever before.”