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Mar 07 Ronda Rousey Wins Bronze Medal at Belgian Ladies' Open

Feb. 03, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - World silver medalist Ronda Rousey (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) won a bronze medal in the 70kg division on Sunday at the Belgian Ladies' Open, a B-Level Point Tournament in Arlon.

In a unique format, players had to place in the top two of a three or four-person pool in order to advance to the main draw.  Unlike in most international events, a loss in the draw means that the loser only gets carried through to the repecharge if the player she loses to advances to the final. 

Rousey, who turned 21-years-old on Friday, fought Samantha Lowe (GBR) in the first round, pinning Lowe for ippon (instant win).  Rousey and the 2007 Belgian Ladies' Champion Haruka Tachimoto (JPN) fought next, tying the match at the end of the five-minute period.  Due to the tournament format, the match did not go into overtime, but since Tachimoto and Rousey both beat Lowe by ippon, the two had to fight a second match to determine seeding in the main draw.  This time, Tachimoto threw Rousey with an o soto gari (major outer leg throw).

In the main draw, Rousey fought 2006 Pan Am Champion Yalennis Castillo (CUB).  Rousey won their last match at the 2007 Vienna World Cup, but this time Rousey went in for a sumi gaeshi (sacrifice throw), but the score was called as a yuko (quarter-point) for the Cuban.  Rousey came back later in the match, but lost by a koka. 

Castillo advanced to the final, pulling Rousey through to the repecharge where she threw Aya Taniguchi (JPN) with a drop o uchi gari (dropping inner leg throw) for ippon.  Rousey threw 2007 European U20 Champion Linda Bolder (NED) three times to advance to the bronze medal against Gemma Gibbons (GBR).  Rousey and Gibbons fought most recently at the U.S. Open in October where Rousey earned her third consecutive gold medal.  Rousey dominated the match again, armbarring Gibbons to win the bronze medal.

Two other U.S. players fought for bronze as well, but placed fifth. 

Annie Shiraishi (Elk Grove, Calif. / East Bay Judo Institute) went 2-1 in her pool, defeating a British opponent by ippon in the first match of the 48kg division.  Shiraishi lost to a Japanese player by a yuko, but came back to throw a German with a drop seoi nagae (dropping shoulder throw) for ippon.

In the main draw, Shiraishi beat her first French opponent in Golden Score, but lost her next match against 2004 Paris Super World Cup medalist Emilie Lafont (FRA).  In the bronze medal match, Shiraishi fought 2006 Junior World medalist Shoho Ibe (JPN), but was pinned and placed fifth.

Former +78kg Senior National Champion Melinda Swanson (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri) had a first-round walkover and beat a German player in the second round of pool play.  In the main draw, Swanson lost to Idalis Ortiz (CUB), a fifth-place finisher at the 2007 World Championships.  In the bronze medal match, Swanson lost to Rebecca Raminich (FRA) to place fifth.

Sayaka Matsumoto (El Cerrito, Calif. / NYAC / East Bay Judo Institute) had the most difficult schedule of the day, fighting five matches in the 48kg division just to get out of her pool. 

Matsumoto pinned her French opponent in the first round, but lost to a German opponent in her next match by ippon.  In the third match, Matsumoto tied a player from the Netherlands.  In order to break a three-way tie in the pool, Matsumoto fought both the French and German players again, pinning each of them to advance to the main draw.

Unfortunately, Matsumoto's first match in the draw pitted her against 2005 World Champion Yanet Bermoy (CUB) who defeated Matsumoto, but lost in the quarter-finals, eliminating Matsumoto. 

Matsumoto and Shiraishi were the only U.S. 48kg players to advance to the main draw as the other three athletes failed to advance.  Natalie Lafon (National City, Calif.) lost to a French player by a penalty and tied a German player.  Alexa Liddie (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) lost all three of her matches by ippon.  Liddie was pinned first by Japanese and German players and then thrown by a British player.  Veronica Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) who, like Liddie, is a top 44kg player, went 1-2 in her pool, but did not advance.

Top-ranked U.S. 52kg player Anna Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) won her first match by a yuko against Canadian Eve Renaud-Roy and her second match by a waza-ari (half-point) against a Dutch player.  Palmer had a bye in the main draw, but was pinned in the second round by 2007 European U20 bronze medalist Penelope Bonna (FRA).

Colleen Matthews (Colorado Springs, (Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) and Mindy Chow (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri) also competed in the 52kg division, but each went 0-2 in the pools. 

The reigning 57kg Champion Valerie Gotay (Harlingen, Texas / USA Judo National Training Site at Harlingen) pinned Lisa Andela (NED) in the first round and lost to a Japanese player in the second.  Gotay then withdrew from the tournament with an injury.

Senior Nationals bronze medalist Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) won her first match in her 57kg pool against a player from Luxembourg by a waza-ari, but lost her next match by ippon to a Japanese player.  In the main draw, Delgado lost to Stephanie Ingles (GBR) by ippon. 

Marti Malloy (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University), the reigning 63kg National Champion, lost her first match to a player from the Netherlands by a koka, but pinned a British player to make it out of the pool.  In the main draw, Malloy was pinned by former 70kg player Anne Laure Poli (FRA).  Malloy was carried through to the repecarge, but she lost to a Japanese player when she was thrown with an o uchi gari in Golden Score. 

Christal Ransom (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) also had difficulty with Poli who pinned Ransom for ippon in the first round.  Ransom won her next match against a player from Belgium, but lost in the first round of the main draw to Melanie Gerber (GER) by two waza-aris.

Ransom's OTC teammate Paola Genao-Butler also competed in the 63kg division, but was injured in her opening match against a French player and withdrew from the competition.

Katie Sell (Harlingen, Texas / USA Judo National Training Site at Harlingen), the #2 U.S. 70kg player behind Rousey, won her first match against Lyndsey Macpherson (GBR) by two yukos and a koka.  In her next match, Sell was thrown by a Japanese player with an uchimata (inner thigh throw).  Sell advanced to the main draw, but was armbarred by 2006 Junior World medalist Jennifer Kuijpers (NED)

In the 78kg division, Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) advanced to the draw, but lost in the first round to Pauline Camus (FRA)Nina Cutro-Kelly (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo) beat a French player, but lost to a Canadian and did not advance to the main draw.

Complete results are as follows:

Completed Draws

48kg
1. Haruna Asami (JPN)
2. Emilie Lafont (FRA)
3. Sabine Goller (GER)
3. Shoho Ibe (JPN)
5. Bianca Ockedahl (CAN)
5. Ann Shiraishi (San Francisco, Calif. / East Bay Judo Institute)

Also Competed: Sayaka Matsumoto (El Cerrito, Calif. / NYAC / East Bay Judo Institute), 3-1-2
Natalie Lafon (National City, Calif.), 1-1
Alexa Liddie (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center), 0-3
Veronica Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami), 1-2

52kg
1. Miriam Polak (NED)
2. Eri Kakita (JPN)
3. Miki Tsumura (JPN)
3. Spiridoula Fourlatara (GER)
5. Sophie Johnstone
5. Eve Renaud-Roy (CAN)

Also Competed: Anna Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center), 2-1
Colleen Matthews (Colorado Springs, (Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center), 0-2
Mindy Chow (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri), 0-2

57kg
1. Shizuka Maki (JPN)
2. Viola Wachter (GER)
3. Michelle Diemeer (NED)
3. Julie Baeyens (BEL)
5. Gemma Howell (GBR)
5. Miriam Garmater (GER)

Also Competed: Valerie Gotay (Harlingen, Texas / USA Judo National Training Site at Harlingen), 1-1
Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami), 1-2

63kg
1. Anne Laure Poli (FRA)
2. Anicka VanEmden (NED)
3. Hilde Drexler (AUT)
3. Rina Kozawa (JPN)
5. Cindy Madelrieux (FRA)
5. Anaysi Hernandez (CUB)

Also Competed: Marti Malloy (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University), 1-3
Christal Ransom (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center), 1-2

70kg
1. Haruka Tachimoto (JPN)
2. Yalennis Castillo (CUB)
3. Ronda Rousey (Wakefield, Mass./ NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
3. Jennifer Kuijpers (NED)
5. Gemma Gibbons (GBR)
5. Iljana Marzok (GER)

Also Competed: Katie Sell (Harlingen, Texas / USA Judo National Training Site at Harlingen), 1-2

78kg
1. Yurisel Laborde (CUB)
2. Sayaka Anai (JPN)
3. Audrey Tcheumeo (FRA)
3. Tomami Okamura (JPN)
5. Haruna Kawashima (JPN)
5. Karin Van Dijk (NED)

Also Competed: Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
Nina Cutro-Kelly (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo), 1-1

+78kg
1. Idalis Ortiz (CUB)
2. Vanessa Zambotti (MEX)
3. Sarah Adlington (GBR)
3. Rebecca Ramanich (FRA)
5. Angelique Heidy (GER)
5. Melinda Swanson (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri)

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