Nina Cutro-Kelly to Compete at Paris Grand Slam on Sunday

Feb. 06, 2009, 2:34 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Former Senior Nationals silver medalist Nina Cutro-Kelly (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo) will be the first U.S. player to compete in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament when she takes the mat at the Paris Grand Slam on Sunday.
In a new move, the International Judo Federation recently announced that selection for the 2012 Olympic Games would be largely based upon World Rankings in a system where athletes begin earning points at the Paris Grand Slam and continue doing so through April 2012.
Cutro-Kelly - one of only two U.S. players to currently hold an A-Level ranking - will have plenty of high-level international competition in her 78kg division, but the resident of Rennes, France, will have the benefit of competing in the country in which she has trained since 2006. 
The players Cutro-Kelly could face include at least five World and Olympic medalists among the following:

  • Xiuli Yang (CHN), 2008 Olympic Champion and 2008 Paris Super World Cup Champion
  • Stephanie Possamai (FRA), 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and 2007 World bronze medalist
  • Celine LeBrun (FRA), 2000 Olympic silver medalist and four-time World medalist
  • Claudia Zwiers (NED), 1996 Olympic bronze medalist and 2005 World Championships bronze medalist
  • Esther San Miguel (ESP), 2003 World medalist and fifth-place finisher at the 2008 Olympic Games
  • Maryna Pryshchepa (UKR), fifth-place finisher at the 2007 World Championships at 70kg and 14-time World Cup medalist
  • Heide Wollert (GER), 2008 European Champion and 13-time World Cup medalist
  • Yahima Ramirez (POR), 2008 European Championships bronze medalist
  • Sayaka Anai (JPN), 2008 Asian Championships bronze medalist
  • Lucie Louette (FRA), 2004 Junior World medalist and nine-time World Cup medalist
  • Raquel Prieto (ESP), eight-time world Cup medalist
  • Marhinde Verkerk (NED), eight-time World Cup medalist
  • Catherine Roberge (CAN), five-time World Cup and four-time Pan American medalist
  • Kumiko Horie (JPN), three-time World Cup medalist and two-time World Team Championships bronze medalist
  • Géraldine Mentouopou (FRA), 2008 European U23 Champion and three-time World Cup medalist
  • Anastasia Dmitrieva (RUS), two-time World Cup medalist
  • Natalia Kazantseva (RUS), 2007 World Military Championships medalist and 2008 Moscow Super World Cup medalist at 70kg
  • Marylise Levesque (CAN), three-time Pan Am medalist
  • Kaliema Antomarchi (CUB), 2009 Belgian Ladies' Open Champion who defeated Possamai in the semifinals in Arlon last week

Competition schedule is as follows:
Saturday February 7
Men's 60kg, 66kg, 73kg
Women's 48kg, 52kg, 57kg and 63kg
Sunday February 8
Men's 81kg, 90kg, 100kg and +100kg
Women's 70kg, 78kg and +78kg