Aaron Cohen and Kayla Harrison Advance to Second Round at the Senior World Championships
(Rotterdam, Netherlands) - Aaron Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo) and Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) advanced to the second round of the 90kg and 78kg divisions, respectively, on Saturday at the Senior World Championships.
Cohen, a two-time World Team member in the 81kg division, moved up to 90kg earlier this year where he won the Senior Nationals and qualified for his third world team.
In the first round, Cohen threw Bogdan Barbulescu (ROU) with a ko soto gari (minor outer leg throw) midway through the match to win by ippon (instant win).
"When I saw the draw, I knew he was a guy who was within reach, so he's someone I wanted to draw first," Cohen said. "He's a tall lefty and I knew I had to get him going backwards or get under him and thank God one worked!"
In the second round, Cohen was set to fight Takashi Ono (JPN), the #3-ranked player in the world. Neither player scored during the first two and a half minutes of the match.
"We went down to the ground and his hand hit me in the face. It was just one of those things, but my eyes started to water and it shook me a little bit and I lost some focus," Cohen said.
On the next exchange, Cohen came in for an attack and Ono countered with an uchimata (inner thigh throw) for ippon.
"I wasn't nervous. I just wanted to put everything out there, just go big. I didn't want to play the shido game. I knew I'd have a shot if I just opened up," Cohen said.
Cohen said he remains undecided as to whether he will remain in the 90kg division leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
"I'll see what happens in Europe. I'm going to go back on the Tour and do a couple of events at 81, a couple at 90 and see how it goes," he said. "I feel like my technique is good enough. I just need more power and explosion if I'm going to stay at 90."
Harrison, the reigning Junior World Champion, fought a ground-based game for most of her opening match against Samantha Lowe (GBR) in the first round of the 78kg division, but earned a yuko that would guarantee Harrison the win in the five-minute match.
In the second round, 12-time World Cup medalist Amy Cotton (CAN) was down by a penalty, but when Harrison came in with an o uchi gari (major inner leg throw), Cotton countered for a yuko score. Harrison later got a penalty of her own, but Cotton pulled ahead to a two yuko lead when she threw Harrison in the final minute. Cotton was penalized again to set the score at two yukos to one, but Harrison was unable to score as the clock ran down.
Katie Sell (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) drew eight-time World Cup medalist Mina Watanabe (JPN) in the first round of the 70kg division. Watanabe threw Sell with a sode (sleeve throw) for ippon en route to winning the bronze medal.
Competition continues on Sunday with the following divisions:
Nina Cutro-Kelly (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo)
Djamaldin Aliev (Greenwood Village, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center)
Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
Complete results are as follows:
1. Kyu-Won Lee (KOR)
2. Kirill Denisov (RUS)
3. Dilshod Choriev (UZB)
3. Hesham Mesbah (EGY)
5. David Alarza (ESP)
5. Milan Randl (SVK)
7. Dominique Hischier (SUI)
7. Sergiu Toma (MDA)
Also Competed: Aaron Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo), 1-1
1. Yuri Alvear (COL)
2. Anett Meszaros (HUN)
3. Houda Miled (TUN)
3. Mina Watanabe (JPN)
5. Erica Barbieri (ITA)
5. Sally Conway (GBR)
7. Juliane Robra (SUI)
7. Rasa Sraka (SLO)
Also Competed: Katie Sell (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center), 0-1
1. Marhinde Verkerk (NED)
2. Maryna Pryshchepa (UKR)
3. Yi Sun (CHN)
3. Heide Wollert (GER)
5. Celine Lebrun (FRA)
5. Esther San Miguel (ESP)
7. Kaliema Antomarchi (CUB)
7. Amy Cotton (CAN)
Also Competed: Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE), 1-1