U.S. Open Championships Return to San Jose, Sept. 25-27

March 04, 2009, 12:27 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Thirty years after the first U.S. Open, San Jose, Calif. will once again welcome athletes from at least 20 nations to compete in one of the premier international events in North America when the Open is held Sept. 25-27.

"San Jose is to judo what Eugene, Ore. is to track and field in our country and that is why we are so excited that San Jose has agreed to host the 2009 U.S. Open," said USA Judo CEO Jose H. Rodriguez (Colorado Springs, Colo.)  "We all know that any time you think of a judo tournament in San Jose, you know that it will be a first class event."

The 2009 U.S. Open will include senior elite, masters (ages 30 and older) and kata (forms) divisions.  For the first time, a visually impaired division also will be held at the Open.

Held in 1979, the inaugural U.S. Open Championships included a number of well-known players, including one of the most famous judo players of all time Yasuhiro Yamashita (JPN) who won his U.S. Open title shortly before winning the first of four World Championships and an Olympic gold medal. 

In his +95kg final, the judo legend defeated San Jose State University's own James "Brewster" Thompson in the final. 

The tournament will be held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, just minutes from the campus of San Jose State University, a school whose judo program has produced at least 11 U.S. Olympic Team members, including three Olympic medalists. 

Home to the first two U.S. Open Championships, the city of San Jose has been the home of at least 11 U.S. Olympic Team members and six coaches in the sport of judo, including past USA Judo President Yosh Uchida (San Jose, Calif.) who led the first Team at the 1964 Olympic Games and former World Champion Mike Swain (San Jose, Calif.) who was a coach of the 1996 Team. 

"This will be a win-win-win situation as the athletes will have a quality venue with unsurpassed management experience and the well-known legacy of former president Uchida and the World Champion and now USA Judo Board member, Mike Swain," Rodriguez said. "We look forward to a very successful competition and hope that everyone plans to be in San Jose for this fantastic event."

Tournament hotels will be the Hilton San Jose, which is located adjacent to the San Jose McEnry Convention Center, and the nearby Crowne Plaza Hotel.  Information regarding hotel reservations will be available soon.