COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.--Team USA won two gold medals and six overall on Saturday at the International German Championships for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Schmalkdalden, Germany.
"Our athletes fought very well overall," said Coach Scott Moore (Englewood, Colo.), a three-time Paralympic medalist. "This tournament gave them the opportunity to gain experience at the international level against many of the athletes they will face over the next two and a half years. It also gave us an idea on areas we need to work on leading into the 2012 Paralympic Games."
Paralympian Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) fought up from the 100kg division where he is ranked fifth in the United States among sighted competitors to win the heavyweight division which included both 100kg and +100kg players.
Porter threw Joseph Ingram (GBR) 12 seconds into his first match with a drop seoi nage (dropping shoulder throw). Although his second match lasted nearly a minute, he scored three times against Dominik Zilian (GER), throwing him with a series of o uchi garis (inner leg throw), scoring a yuko (quarter-point), waza-ari (half-point) and ippon (instant win) during three exchanges.
Porter sealed his gold medal when he leg picked Markus Upmann (GER) early in his final match.
Ronnie Hawthorne (Kansas City, Kans. / Cahill's Judo) placed fifth at the able-bodied USA Judo Senior National Championships in the 55kg division in April, but returned to his Paralympic competition weight of 60kg to win his first international event.
A former wrestler, Hawthorne used his groundwork to win two of his three matches, pinning Teemu Kuusito (FIN) and Sergen Gunduz (TUR). Hawthorne also defeated Yasin Quel (TUR) by a stalling penalty.
Christella Garcia (Sacramento, Calif. / Sacramento Judo Club), a fifth-place finisher at the 2007 World Championships for the Blind, threw her first two opponents in the 63kg division for ippon and pinned a third. In her final match, Garcia gave up her only loss of the day when she was pinned by Duygen Cete (TUR), a fifth-place finisher at the 2008 Paralympic Games. Garcia won the silver medal in the division.
Competing in his first international event, Adnan Gutic (St. Louis, Mo. / White Dragon Judo Club) won a silver medal in the 81kg division, defeating his first opponent by ippon before losing his final match to Sebastian Junk (GER), a 2008 Paralympian who recently dropped down from 90kg.
Robert Deese (Billings, Mont. / Martial Arts Academy) was armbarred in his first match in the 90kg division by Sam Ingram (GBR). Deese rebounded to throw his second opponent, Nashwan Badi (AUT), for ippon, but lost to Sergen Akten (TUR) in his next match to place third in the round-robin division.
Tina Thomas (Los Angeles, Calif. / Mojica Judo Club) lost both of her matches in the 52kg division.
Complete results are as follows:
1. Ron Hawthorne (Kansas City, Kans. / Cahill's Judo)
2. Sergen Gunduz (TUR)
3. Yasin Quel (TUR)
3. Teemu Kuusisto (FIN)
1. Darren Harris (GBR)
2. Serkan Esmer (TUR)
3. Josef Bauer (GER)
3. Andrey Butenko (UKR)
1. Jani Kallunki (FIN)
2. Matthias Schmid (GER)
3. Marcel Rieseler (GER)
3. Steve Turbitt (GBR)
1. Sebastian Junk (GER)
2. Adnan Gutic (St. Louis, Mo. / White Dragon Judo Club)
3. Marc Lawrence Charles Powell (GBR)
1. Sam Ingram (GBR)
2. Sergen Akten (TUR)
3. Robert Deese (Billings, Mont. / Martial Arts Academy)
3. Nashwan Badi (AUT)
1. Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)
2. Dominik Zilian (GER)
3. Joseph Ingram (GBR)
3. Markus Upmann (GER)
1. Carmen Brussig (GER)
2. Tina Thomas (Los Angeles, Calif. / Mojica)
1. Duygen Cete (TUR)
2. Christella Garcia (Sacramento, Calif. / Sacramento Judo Club)
3. Paiva Tolppanen (FIN)
3. Dzeneta Bajrektarevic (GER)
1. Nicolina Pernheim (SWE)
2. Sofia Moller (SWE)
3. Tanja Dieckmann (GER)
3. Barbara Schmidt (GER)