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O'Neil Places Seventh in 66kg Division at Belgium Open

Feb. 04, 2008, 12 a.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Competing in the 66kg division for the first time since May, Josh O'Neil (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) placed seventh in a 69-person division at the Belgium Open in Vise on Sunday.

O'Neil, a former 66kg player who moved down to 60kg where he is now ranked #3 in the United States, won four matches in a large division and was just one win away from fighting for a medal.

After a first round bye, O'Neil won his next three matches, defeating Oliver Lodtka (GER) in the first round before beating a pair of former 60kg players who were former European U20 Championships medalists - Achraf Fikri (FRA), the 2006 silver medalist and Philipp Dahn (GER), a 2005 bronze medalist who upset four-time World medalist Yordanis Arencibia (CUB) in the previous round.

O'Neil lost in the quarter-finals to Rene Schneider (GER) who would go on to win the silver medal. 
In the repecharge, O'Neil beat Laurent Cormao (FRA), but lost to Florian Heimlich to place seventh overall. 

Three other U.S. players all placed ninth.

After a first-round bye in the 66kg division, Kenny Hashimoto (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) defeated Adel Machfar (FRA) and Andriy Burdun (UKR) before losing to Schneider.  Hashimoto lost his first match in the repecharge to Cormao.

Top-ranked U.S. 66kg player Taylor Takata (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) was on the opposite side of the draw from O'Neil and Hashimoto.  Takata also had a first round bye after which he earned three wins against Remy Van Wymeersch (FRA), Sam Dunkley (GBR) and Thomas Cadoux Duc (FRA), but lost in the quarter-finals to Maxime Legohanvic (FRA).  Takata lost his first repecharge match to Gareth Carder (GBR).

Competing in an 81kg division with nearly 100 players, Travis Stevens (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) had a first-round bye and advanced through to the quarter-finals with three wins, defeating Lex Niekoop (NED), Jean Docquier (BEL) and Asley Gonzalez (CUB).  Stevens then lost his next two matches to eventual champion Dogan Tekin (NED) and Jonas Sandstrom (SWE) to place ninth.

Aaron Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo) also competed in the 81kg division, had a first-round bye and then defeated Tim Van Glabeke (BEL) and Norbert Fleischer (GER), but lost to four-time World Cup medalist Konstantin Zaretski (RUS) and Patrick Schweitzer (GER) in his next two matches.

The following players also competed, but lost in their opening match and were not carried through to the repecharge:

66kg

  • Jeremy Liggett (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center)
  • Toshiya Nishimura (Spring Valley, Ohio / Renshuden)
  • Shane Simerly (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)
  • Nate Torra (El Cerrito, Calif. / NYAC / East Bay Judo Institute)

81kg

  • 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)
  • Robert Turnquest (Honolulu, Hawaii / Kamehameha Judo)
  • Davor Vasiljevic (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University)

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)

Medal winners are as follows:

66kg
1. Ugo Legrand (FRA)
2. Rene Schneider (GER)
3. Maxim Legohavic (FRA)
3. Colin Oates (GBR)

81kg
1. Dogan Tekin (NED)
2. Jonathan Schneider (FRA)
3. Konstantin Zaretskiy (RUS)
3. Nick Hein (GER)

100kg
1. Cyrille Maret (FRA)
2. Meheddi Khaldoun (FRA)
3. Maxime Clement (FRA)
3. Oreidis Despaigne (CUB)

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