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Nov 08 Ann Shiraishi and Natalie Lafon Win Gold, Silver at the Finnish Open

Nov. 08, 2008, 2:27 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - The final of the 48kg division came down to the top two U.S. players in the weight division - 2008 U.S. Olympic Team alternate Ann Shiraishi (San Francisco, Calif. / East Bay Judo Institute) and reigning Senior National Champion Natalie Lafon (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) at the Finnish Open in Vantaa on Saturday.

Because the division had seven competitors, players were divided into two pools with the top two players from each pool advancing to a four-person bracket.  Lafon won each of her three pool matches by ippon (instant win), defeating Vanessa Garcia (ESP), Charlotte Farbon (GBR) and Bianca Ockedahl (CAN) while Shiraishi was the top player in her pool after wins against Satu Ryhanen (FIN) and Marie-Pier Grauveau (CAN).  In the semifinals, Lafon won her match against Grauveau by a koka and Shiraishi defeated Garcia by a yuko (quarter-point).

Although Shiraishi and Lafon are ranked first and second in the U.S. rankings, respectively, the two have only fought once with Shiraishi winning their semifinal match at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.  Shiraishi, a 2007 Finnish Open silver medalist, would need to repeat her Trials win against Lafon to hold on to her #1 ranking. 

The two fought a close match, however, Shiraishi prevailed by a koka (smallest points) which gave her the gold medal and Lafon the silver. 

Former U.S. Open Champion Bobby Lee (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) lost in the first round of the 73kg division by ippon to Tomasz Krecielewski (POL).  Lee found himself eliminated from the tournament when Kreciewleski lost in the next round to former Pan Am medalist Nick Tritton (CAN).

Jeanette Rodriguez (Coral Springs, Fla.) and Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla.), both of the USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami, will compete in the 52kg and 57kg divisions, respectively on Sunday.

Complete results are as follows:

Women's 48kg
1. Ann Shiraishi (San Francisco, Calif. / East Bay Judo Institute)
2. Natalie Lafon (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center)
3. Marie-Pier Grauveau (CAN)
3. Vanessa Garcia (ESP)
 
Women's 70kg
1. Elina Paulman (FIN)
2. Tine Mollerskov (DEN)
3. Anna Ovtsarenko (EST)
3. Lynn Mossong (LUX)
 
Women's 78kg
1. Sam Lowe (GBR)
2. Marylise Levesque (CAN)
 
Men's 60kg
1. Sergio Pessoa (CAN)
2. Olegs Filipovs (LAT)
3. Marek Krecielewski (POL)
3. Tatu Saarinen (FIN)
5. Simon Frovin (FRA)
5. Juho Reinvall (FIN)
 
Men's 73kg
1. Nick Tritton (CAN)
2. Alex Farbon (GBR)
3. Nils Deret (FRA)
3. Martin Thiblin (NOR)
5. Ricardo Leduc (FRA)
5. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
 
Also Competed: Bobby Lee (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE), 0-1
 
Men's 90kg
1. Jevgenijs Borodavko (LAT)
2. Zviadi Gogochuri (GEO)
3. Sergei Marmeljuk (EST)
3. Akseli Halttu (FIN)
5. Jonathon Purssey (GBR)
5. Jerry Lammasniemi (FIN)
 
Men's +100kg
1. Juhan Mettis (EST)
2. Heikki Haapa-Aho (FIN)
3. Andrew Goulet (CAN)
3. Jaan Angerjarv (EST)
5. Thomas Turner (GBR)
5. Tero Makela (FIN)

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