Rodriguez and Williams-Murray Pick Up Two World Wins Apiece
(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) - Seventeen-year-old Jeanette Rodriguez (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) finished her first senior World Championships with two wins under her belt in the 48kg division, but in a pool with a six-time World Champion, she would have needed a third to guarantee advancing into further competition.
Rodriguez, a bronze medalist during her last trip to Rio at the Pan American Games, won the first match of the day when Claudia Gonzalez (NCA) committed three penalties.
Rodriguez was the aggressor in her next match as well against Petra Steinbauer (AUT), throwing Steinbauer twice for koka (smallest points) score and earning a third koka from a penalty committed by Steinbauer.
In the third round, Jeanette Rodriguez scored two kokas off throws and another off a penalty to beat Petra Steinbauer (AUT) and advance to her next match against 2007 Paris Super World Cup Champion Shugen Wu (CHN).
Wu received a penalty early in the match, giving Rodriguez a koka lead, but Rodriguez tied the match a minute later with a penalty of her own. The two went back and forth until Wu caught Rodriguez with a throw for ippon (instant win) with just over a minute left in the match.
Rodriguez needed Wu to win her next match against Ryoko Tani (JPN) who is going for her seventh World Championship title. Tani entered the match coming off a Golden Score round against two-time reigning World silver medalist Frederique Jossinet (FRA) where they both had two penalties each in regulation until Tani threw Jossinet mid-way through overtime.
Tani picked up the first penalty in her match with Wu, but Wu was given a penalty with four seconds remaining in their match to end the two to Golden Score again during which Tani threw Wu to win the match.
The loss eliminated Rodriguez from the tournament.
Taraje Williams-Murray (Bronx, N.Y. / NYAC / Spartak Sports Club) came into the World Championships as a veteran of the 2005 event where he earned the highest placing on the men's side, finishing ninth.
Williams-Murray opened the day by throwing Joao Cardoso (POR) three times for a koka, waza-ari (half-point) and yuko (quarter-point) before throwing Cardoso again for ippon with a fireman's carry.
In his second match, Williams-Murray led by a penalty and a yuko scored off a fireman's carry throughout his match against Elio Vede (ITA) whose only score against the American came when Williams-Murray was penalized for stalling at the end of the match.
Williams-Murray and Nestor Khergiani (GEO) were encouraged to start the attacks early in the third round when they were both hit with stalling penalties 20 seconds into the match. Khergiani responded by throwing Williams-Murray for a waza-ari and moving straight into a pin. The pin was called off after 10 seconds, giving Khergiani a koka score, but he locked it in again to score a waza-ari and end the match.
Khergiani won his next match, advancing to the semifinals and carrying Williams-Murray through to the repechage where he went in for a throw against Sergei Nokikov (BLR), but got countered and thrown for ippon in the first 30 seconds.
Djamaldin Aliev (Greenwood Village, Colo. / Denver Judo) fought in the men's Open division, advancing to the second round after his opponent didn't show and then losing to Bama Bor (HUN) by three penalties to two. Bor lost his next match, eliminating Aliev.
Heidi Moore (Englewood, Colo. / Denver Judo) was thrown for yuko, waza-ari and ippon by Idalis Ortiz (CUB) in the women's open division. Ortiz lost her next match, eliminating Moore