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Mar 07 Travis Stevens Wins Bronze at Brazil Grand Slam

July 05, 2009, 11:09 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Beijing Olympian Travis Stevens (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) became the first male U.S. athlete to earn a medal at an Senior A+ Level Point Tournament in nearly five years when he placed third on Sunday at the Brazil Grand Slam in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Stevens' bronze medal win is expected to move him into a #8 World ranking with only one point tournament remaining before the World Championships, Aug. 26-30 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.    The top eight players in attendance at the Worlds will receive seeds at the event. 

After a first-round bye in the 81kg division, Stevens defeated three-time World Cup Champion Masahiro Takamatsu (JPN) in the quarter-finals.  Stevens, who lost to Takamatsu at the Hamburg Grand Prix in February, controlled the match, forcing Takamatsu into two penalties which gave Stevens a lead by a yuko (quarter-point) score.  Although Stevens did not score in the end of the match, his continued attacks in both his standing and ground games protected his lead and solidified the win. 

In the semifinals, Stevens fought 2009 European Champion Ivan Nifontov (RUS).  Nifontov caught Stevens with an early footsweep and won the match by ippon (instant win).  The Russian, who is ranked #2 in the world, would go on to win the tournament.

In a unique format, the Brazil Grand Slam was a single elimination event in which the losers of the semifinals were awarded bronze medals. 

On Saturday, Stevens' Team FORCE teammate Aaron Kunihiro (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC) placed fifth in the 60kg division.  Kunihiro had a first-round bye before defeating Jesus Chaparro (MEX) by two waza-aris (half-point each) midway through the match.

In the quarter-finals, Hiroaki Hiroaka (JPN) led the match by waza-ari and yuko scores before ending the match with an ippon.  Hiroaka would go on to win the silver medal and Kunihiro placed fifth, earning an A-Level on the USA Judo Senior Elite National Roster.

Four other U.S. players competed on Saturday, but did not advance in the tournament.

Former Pan American Games bronze medalist Jeanette Rodriguez (Davie, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) had a first-round bye in the 52kg division.  In the second round, Rodriguez attacked 12-time World Cup medalist Audrey La Rizza (FRA) with attempts at a variety of throws, but was given a false attack penalty when she went in for a drop seoi nage (dropping shoulder throw).  La Rizza took the lead when Rodriguez was given a second penalty for stalling and would hold on to the lead to win the match.  La Rizza went on to win a silver medal in the division.

Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) also had a first-round bye in her 57kg division, but was thrown by 2008 Junior World Champion Rafaela Silva (BRA) with an uchimata for ippon.  Silva would go on to win the bronze medal.

Veronica Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) had a first-round bye in the 48kg division.  In the second round, Prado lost by ippon to 2008 Junior World Champion and four-time World Cup medalist Sarah Menezes (BRA) who would later win the bronze.

Andrew Porras (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) had a first-round bye in the 73kg division before his match against two-time Olympic medalist Leandro Guilheiro (BRA).  Guilheiro led by two yukos, but a series of four penalties committed by Porras gave the Brazilian the win.  Guilheiro went on to win the silver medal.

Complete results are as follows: 

Men's 60kg
1. Ludwig Paischer (AUT)
2. Hiroaki Hiraoka (JPN)
3. Kisei Akimoto (JPN)
3. Arsen Galstayan (RUS)
5. Felipe Kitadai (BRA)
5. Aaron Kunihiro (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
5. Sofiane Milous (FRA)
5. Beslan Mudranov (RUS)

Men's 66kg
1. Alim Gadanov (RUS)
2. Khashbaatar Tsagaanbaatar (MGL)
3. David Larose (FRA)
3. Musa Mogushkov (RUS)
5. Joao Derly (BRA)
5. Tatsuaki Egusa (JPN)
5. Michal Popiel (CAN)
5. Kazuhiro Shoji (JPN)

Men's 73kg
1. Dirk Van Tichelt (BEL)
2. Leandro Guilheiro (BRA)
3. Mansur Isaev (RUS)
3. Yoel Razvozov (ISR)
5. Gilles Bonhomme (FRA)
5. Marcelo Contini (BRA)
5. Peter Scharinger (AUT)
5. Nick Tritton (CAN)

Also Competed: Andrew Porras (Hialeah, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami), 0-1

Men's 81kg
1. Ivan Nifontov (RUS)
2. Nacif Elias (BRA)
3. Travis Stevens (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
3. Masahiko Tomouchi (JPN)
5. Flavio Canto (BRA)
5. Axel Clerget (FRA)
5. Sirazhudin Magomedov (RUS)
5. Masahiro Takamatsu (JPN)

Men's 90kg
1. Kirill Denisov (RUS)
2. Hugo Pessanha (BRA)
3. Tiago Camilo (BRA)
3. Eduardo Santos (BRA)
5. Felipe Oliveira (BRA)
5. Ivan Pershin (RUS)
5. Diego Rosati (ARG)
5. Hugo Silva (POR)

Men's 100kg
1. Elco Van Der Geest (NED)
2. Luciano Correa (BRA)
3. Thierry Fabre (FRA)
3. Askhab Kostoev (RUS)
5. Matthieu Bataille (FRA)
5. Leonardo Leite (BRA)
5. Magomed Magomedov (RUS)
5. Christian Schmidt (ARG)

Men's +100kg
1. Daniel Hernandes (BRA)
2. Hiroki Tachiyama (JPN)
3. Yasuyuki Muneta (JPN)
3. Pierre Robin (FRA)
5. Alexander Mikhaylin (RUS)
5. Walter Santos (BRA)
5. Rafael Silva (BRA)
5. Tamerlan Tmenov (RUS)

Women's 48kg
1. Frederique Jossinet (FRA)
2. Emi Yamagishi (JPN)
3. Sarah Menezes (BRA)
3. Paula Pareto (ARG)
5. Michaela Baschin (GER)
5. Birgit Ente (NED)
5. Daniela Polzin (BRA)
5. Amelie Rosseneu (BEL)

Also Competed: Veronica Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami), 0-1

Women's 52kg
1. Yuka Nishida (JPN)
2. Audrey La Rizza (FRA)
3. Ilse Heylen (BEL)
3. Erika Miranda (BRA)
5. Kitty Bravik (NED)
5. Mareen Kraeh (GER)
5. Joana Ramos (POR)
5. Romy Tarangul (GER)

Also Competed: Jeanette Rodriguez (Davie, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami), 0-1

Women's 57kg
1. Telma Monteiro (POR)
2. Nae Udaka (JPN)
3. Sabrina Filzmoser (AUT)
3. Rafaela Silva (BRA)
5. Mariana Barros (BRA)
5. Liraz Ben Melech (ISR)
5. Morgane Ribout (FRA)
5. Aiko Sato (JPN)

Also Competed: Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami), 0-1

Women's 63kg
1. Claudia Malzahan (GER)
2. Anicka Van Emden (NED)
3. Claudia Ahrens (GER)
3. Gevrise Emane (FRA)
5. Hozomi Hirai (JPN)
5. Emmanuelle Payet (FRA)
5. Alice Schlesinger (ISR)
5. Katrien Verheeke (BEL)

Women's 70kg
1. Lucie Decosse (FRA)
2. Kerstin Thiele (GER)
3. Yuri Alvear (COL)
3. Edith Bosch (NED)
5. Asuka Oka (JPN)
5. Maria Portela (BRA)
5. Juliane Robra (SUI)
5. Haruka Tachimoto (JPN)

Women's 78kg
1. Celine Lebrun (FRA)
2. Stephanie Possamai (FRA)
3. Tomomi Okamura (JPN)
3. Heide Wollert (GER)
5. Amy Cotton (CAN)
5. Annika Heise (GER)
5. Yahima Ramirez (POR)
5. Catherine Roberge (CAN)

Women's +78kg
1. Mika Sugimoto (JPN)
2. Carola Uilenhoed (NED)
3. Franziska Konitz (GER)
3. Melissa Mojica (PUR)
5. Priscila Marques (BRA)
5. Rochele Nunes (BRA)
5. Samantha Soares (BRA)
5. Andrea Carolina Zapata Cuero (COL)

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