JUDO: Team USA Finishes First Leg of European Tour in Warsaw and Prague This Weekend

Feb. 27, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
For Immediate Release February 27, 2008 Contact: Nicole Jomantas, 719.866.4732 Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us (Colorado Springs, Colo.)-Five U.S. athletes will finish out the first leg of the 2008 European Tour at the Prague and Warsaw World Cups this weekend. Competition for the men will be held in Prague, Czech Republic while the women compete in Warsaw, Poland. For nearly all of these athletes, a top-four finish would mean the securing of a #1 ranking at both the USA Judo Senior National Championships, April 11-12 in Virginia Beach, and the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Judo, June 13-14 in Las Vegas. Ryan Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) is the only athlete who has previously medaled on the World Cup circuit, having earned two silvers and a bronze in past years in the 73kg division. This will be Reser's third A-Level event in as many weeks. Although he fought up to 81kg at last weekend's Hamburg Super World Cup, he upset two former World Cup medalists and finished with a 2-2 record, despite being 15 pounds lighter than his opponents. Taylor Takata (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) competed with Reser at the Vienna World Cup two weeks ago and since then the two have participated in international training camps in both Vienna and Hamburg. Reigning 100kg National Champion Shintaro Higashi (Scarsdale, N.Y. / NYAC / Kokushi Budo Institute) competed in his World Cup event in 2007, but will be making his 2008 debuts in Prague. One of the Team's youngest Olympians as a 17-year-old in 2004, Nikki Kubes (Fort Worth, Texas / Fort Worth Judo) will be competing in a World Cup for the first time this weekend. Plagued by ligaments torn in her knee at the 2006 Pan American Championships, this will be Kubes' second senior international tournament since the 2004 Games. Now recovered, Kubes has been training full-time in Japan since January. Kubes will be competing in Warsaw with Anna Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) who will be fighting up to 57kg from the 52kg division where she is presently ranked #1 in the United States. Competition schedule for both events is as follows: Warsaw World Cup Saturday: 48kg, 52kg, 57kg, 63kg Sunday: 70kg, 78kg, +78kg Prague World Cup Saturday: 60kg, 66kg, 73kg Sunday: 81kg, 90kg, 100kg, +100kg For more information, contact Nicole Jomantas, USA Judo Director of Communications and Media Relations, at 719.866.4732 or Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us. -END-