USA Judo logo

Judo

Feb 01 JUDO: Thirty-Four U.S. Men to Compete at Belgium Open This Weekend

Feb. 01, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
For Immediate Release February 1, 2008 Contact: Nicole Jomantas, 719.866.4732 Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us JUDO: Thirty-Four U.S. Men to Compete at Belgium Open This Weekend (Colorado Springs, Colo.)-While most of the top women's athletes are competing in Arlon, Belgium, 34 U.S. men will be fighting for the chance to become the first American ever to win the B-Level Belgium Open in Vise this weekend. Ryan Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) became the first U.S. player to win a medal at the event in 2006 when he placed third in the 73kg division. Reser and fellow 73kg player Chuck Jefferson (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) both had the best record for Team USA at the 2007 tournament, winning four matches each. While four wins would mean a trip to the medal rounds, the Belgium Open is well known for its large divisions and the two faced a draw with 91 opponents last year and each placed thirteenth. In addition to Reser and Jefferson, both two-time Pan Am Champions and past European medalists, six other former Pan Am and World Team members will be competing. Brian Olson (Boulder, Colo. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center / 90kg) will be competing in his first European event since coming out of retirement in August. A 1997 World medalist, Olson is attempting to qualify for his fourth consecutive Olympic Team. The 34-year-old has competed twice since August, including his win at the U.S. Open in October that nearly solidified his place at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Judo, June 13-14 in Las Vegas, Nev. Travis Stevens (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) won his last European event when he took the 81kg title at the Finnish Open in Vantaa. Stevens' skills have greatly improved since last year's event when he finished the event with a 2-2 record. The reigning National Champion, Stevens won the Pan American Games in July alongside Reser and earned five major international medals during the 2007 season. Taylor Takata (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center), a 2006 Pan Am Team member, will be competing in the 66kg division. Although Takata did not compete in Belgium last year, he is currently the top-ranked U.S. 66kg player and added to his European medal collection in November with a bronze medal at the Finnish Open. Stevens' top American competitor, Aaron Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo), is a five-time Pan Am medalist in the 81kg division who began his European Tour last week when he competed at the Tbilisi World Cup in Georgia. Rick Hawn (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) and Garry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Starrett Judo), the top two U.S. players in the 90kg division, each won bronze medals at Pan Am events in 2007. Hawn, who moved up to 90kg from 81kg last March, has never won a European medal in his new division, but did earn a silver medal at the Tre-Torri International as an 81kg player in 2006. St. Leger also won a medal at Tre-Torri that same year, placing third in the 90kg division. Competition begins on Saturday with the 60kg, 73kg, 90kg and +100kg divisions. The 66kg, 81kg and 100kg divisions will be held on Sunday. A complete roster of U.S. athletes competing in the event is as follows: 60kg Jeff Fujimoto (Los Angeles, Calif. / Sawtelle Judo) Dan Gomez (College Station, Texas / Texas A , M Judo) Aaron Kunihiro (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) Josh O'Neil (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) Jeff Sato (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) 66kg Kenny Hashimoto (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) Jeremy Liggett (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) Toshiya Nishimura (Spring Valley, Ohio / Renshuden Judo Academy) Shane Simerly (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) Taylor Takata (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) Nate Torra (El Cerrito, Calif. / NYAC / East Bay Judo Institute) 73kg RJ Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / Cohen's Judo) Nick Delpopolo (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) Michael Eldred (Fruitland, Idaho / Western Idaho Judo Institute) Chuck Jefferson (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) Bobby Lee (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) Ryan Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) AJ Silverman (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) 81kg Aaron Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo) Iavor Kostadinov (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) Antonio Rodriguez (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) Travis Stevens (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) Robert Turnquest (Honolulu, Hawaii / Kamehameha Judo) Davor Vasiljevic (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) 90kg Erik Duus (Saratoga, Calif. / Stanford Judo) Rick Hawn (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) Roger Mazzella (Natick, Mass. / Tohoku Judo) Brian Olson (Boulder, Colo. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) Garry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Starrett Judo) 100kg Djamaldin Aliev (Greenwood Village, Colo. / Denver Judo / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) Victor Jean-Baptiste (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC) William Worthington (Richmond, Calif. / Cahill's Judo) +100kg Derek Alef (Santa Barbara, Calif. / Santa Ynez Valley Community Judo) Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) For more information, contact Nicole Jomantas, USA Judo Director of Communications and Media Relations, at 719.866.4732 or Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us. -END-
Comments