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Mar 07 JUDO: Team USA Qualifies 10 Divisions for the 2008 Olympic Games

May 11, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
For Immediate Release May 11, 2008 Contact: Nicole Jomantas, 719.271.9937 (cell) Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us (Miami, Fla.)-At least 10 U.S. athletes will be competing in the Olympic Games in Beijing following the completion of a two-year qualifying process that concluded on Sunday in Miami at the Olympic Zone 1 Cup. The divisions in which Team USA is qualified include women's 48kg, 57kg and 70kg and men's 60kg, 66kg, 73kg, 81kg, 90kg, 100kg and +100kg_ more> The process for qualifying divisions began two years ago and included results from the Zone Cup as well as the 2006 Pan American Championships in Buenos Aires; 2007 Pan American Championships in Montreal, 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, 2007 World Championships in Rio de Janeiro and the most recent Pan Ams which concluded on Saturday at the James L. Knight Center in Miami. Athletes from a nation had to be ranked in the top three women and top six men in a weight division from among the 42 Pan American countries, excluding players who placed in the top five at the 2007 Worlds. In addition to the Zone Cup in Miami in which athletes from the United States, Haiti, Canada, Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic competed, two other Zone Cups were held for the rest of South and Central America in April."It's been a long three years, but we're all very proud of how all of the athletes who participated in the qualifying process have done and how much hard work they've put into training to get to this point,"said USA Judo Director of High Performance Eddie Liddie (Colorado Springs, Colo.) "Now we're looking forward to a great event at the Trials and having the best team possible in Beijing."All 14 Olympic weight divisions will be contested June 13-14 at the Thomas , Mack Center in Las Vegas where the Judo Trials will be held simultaneously with Wrestling Trials which also will continue on June 15. The four unqualified weight divisions will be held on a contingency basis should athletes from other nations decline to participate. Anthony Turner (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) was under the most pressure of anyone on the U.S. Team as his Olympic hopes in the +100kg division would all come down to one match with Jose Vazquez, the Dominican player who beat Turner for bronze on Thursday. In his first match of the day, Turner would have to beat Vazquez to secure the #6 slot and the ability to send a U.S. heavyweight to Beijing. Turner controlled the match from the start, forcing Vazquez into a penalty and then throwing him for ippon (instant win) with a seoi nage (shoulder throw). Turner threw Ian Alexander (CAN) for ippon in his next match with an o soto gari (outer leg throw) and won the third on a walkover against former Pan Am medalist Joel Brutus (HAI). Although she already qualified the United States in the 70kg division with her World silver medal Ronda Rousey (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) won both of her matches on Sunday, defeating Nadjeda Gena (HAI) and then avenging her bronze medal loss on Thursday to Catherine Roberge (CAN). Rousey was given a penalty early in the match, but she took the lead when Roberge was given two penalties as well. Rousey threw Roberge for a yuko (quarter point) and Roberge was given a third penalty. When Roberge gestured in irritation with the call, the referees ejected her from the tournament, eliminating Roberge from Olympic qualification. Rousey and Yalennis Castillo (CUB) were slated to fight in what would have been a rematch of Rousey's quarter-final loss to Castillo on Thursday, but the Cuban withdrew from the match, giving Rousey the win by a walkover. Taraje Williams-Murray (Bronx, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) only need a bronze medal to qualify 60kg, but he fought well all day, throwing Yosmani Piker (CUB), Gonzalo Ibanez (CAN) and Raymond Daguilh (HAI) all for ippon. Marti Malloy (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) won the 63kg gold medal after throwing Edeline Aime (HAI) for a waza-ari (half-point) and rolling into an armbar to win the match. Malloy's next match ended as a walkover against Marie-Helene Chisholm (CAN). The win moved Malloy from fifth to fourth in her division-just points away from qualifying for Beijing. Ryan Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) was thrown in his first 73kg match by Josue Deprez (HAI) for a yuko score, but caught up when Deprez was given two penalties which tied the match. Reser threw Deprez for another yuko and then pinned him to end the match. After a semifinal win over Fausto Bivieca (DOM), Reser fought 2008 Paris Super World Cup medalist Ronald Girones (CUB), losing by two yuko throws to place second in the division. The silver medal, combined with his two Pan Am golds in 2007, placed Reser as the top-ranked player in the 73kg Pan Am rankings. Christian Aarona (Waimanalo, Hawaii / Makiki Seidokan Judo Club) had the unenviable task of not only competing in two 100kg matches, but having to fight them over again after his round robin division ended in a tie. After beating Arturo Martinez (MEX) once, Aarona beat him again in the second set of fights. Aarona lost to Teofilo Diek (DOM) both times. Like Reser, Aarona's silver medal was icing on the cake as he was mathematically qualified at the conclusion of the Pan Ams earlier in the week. Sayaka Matsumoto (El Cerrito, Calif. / NYAC / East Bay Judo Institute) and Katie Mocco (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) each lost to matches to Canadian players and placed second in the 48kg and 78kg divisions, respectively. As Matsumoto only needed to participate to qualify the 48kg division, she holds on to her #3 Pan Am ranking after her losses to Isabel Latulippe (CAN) who, ironically, finished just below Matsumoto in the rankings and did not qualify her division for Canada. Mocco, on the other hand, finished fourth in the rankings after losses to Marylise Levesque (CAN) and the United States will not qualify for the Games in the 78kg division unless a higher ranked player declines his or her slot. Six U.S. players ended the day with bronze medals. Travis Stevens (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Center / 81kg) and Taylor Takata (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / 66kg) both qualified their divisions on Thursday and Friday with silver and fifth-place finishes, respectively, but opted to fight in the Zone as well. Stevens beat Variotho Tibert (HAI), but lost to Oscar Cardenas (CUB) and Tyler Boras (CAN). In a division in which each player had a 1-1 record, Takata beat Juan Jacinto (DOM), but lost to Sasha Mehmedovic (CAN), but placed third because his win was made with a yuko score against Jacinto while Mehmedovic and Jacinto's wins were by ippon scores. Garry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Legrosports) placed third in the 90kg division, defeating Julian Gutierrez (MEX), but losing to Alexander Emond (CAN) and Jorge Benavides (CUB). The win moved St. Leger from fifth to sixth place in the division. Valerie Gotay (Harlingen, Texas / USA Judo National Training Site at Harlingen) finished qualifying her division earlier this week with her 57kg gold medal win and chose to allow former U.S. Open medalist Hannah Martin (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) to fight in her first Olympic qualifying tournament. Martin lost to former World Champion Yurisleidys Lupetey (CUB) who choked her in the first round and then dropped her next round by several points to Ange Jean-Baptiste (HAI). Heidi Moore (Englewood, Colo. / Denver Judo) competed in the +78kg division, but lost both of her matches to Vanessa Zambotti (MEX) and Idalis Ortiz (CUB). Anna Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) was injured during her 52kg match on Thursday and was unable to fight in the division; however, she did receive a bronze medal and points toward qualification. Complete results are as follows: Women's 48kg 1. Isabelle Latullipe 2. Sayaka Matsumoto (El Cerrito, Calif. / NYAC / East Bay Judo Institute) Women's 52kg 1. Aminata Sall (CAN) 2. Maria Garcia (DOM) 3. Anna Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) Women's 57kg 1. Yurisleidys Lupetey (CUB) 2. Ange Jean-Baptiste (HAI) 3. Hannah Martin (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) Women's 63kg 1. Marti Malloy (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) 2. Edeline Aime (HAI) 3. Marie Helene Chisholm (CAN) Women's 70kg 1. Ronda Rousey (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) 2. Yagnelis Castillo (CUB) 3. Nadjeda Gena (HAI) Women's 78kg 1. Marylise Levesque (CAN) 2. Katie Mocco (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) Women's +78kg 1. Idalis Ortiz 2. Vanessa Zambotti (MEX) 3. Heidi Moore (Englewood, Colo. / Denver Judo) Men's 60kg 1. Taraje Williams-Murray (Bronx, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) 2. Yosmani Piker (CUB) 3. Gonzalo Ibanez (CAN) 3. Raymond Daguilh (HAI) Men's 66kg 1. Juan Jacinto (DOM) 2. Sasha Mehmedovic (CAN) 3. Taylor Takata (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) Men's 73kg 1. Ronald Girones (CUB) 2. Ryan Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) 3. Nick Tritton (CAN) 3. Abraham Negrete (MEX) Men's 81kg 1. Oscar Cardenas (CUB) 2. Tyler Boras (CAN) 3. Travis Stevens (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) Men's 90kg 1. Jorge Benavides (CUB) 2. Alexander Emond (CAN) 3. Garry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Legrosports Starrett) 3. Julian Gutierrez Men's 100kg 1. Teofilo Diek (DOM) 2. Christian Aarona (Waimanalo, Hawaii / Makiki Seidokan Judo Club) 3. Arturo Martinez (MEX) Men's +100kg 1. Anthony Turner (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) 2. Jose Vazquez (DOM) 3. Ian Alexander (CAN) 3. Joel Brutus (HAI) For more information, contact Nicole Jomantas, USA Judo Director of Communications and Media Relations, at 719.271.9937 (cell) or Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us. -END-
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