U.S. athletes climbed the podium for three more gold medals today at the Grand Masters World Judo Championships as some of the youngest fighters stepped onto the mats at this premier tournament set near the mythic beaches of Miami, Florida.
This was Day 2 of the four-day Grand Masters, attended by nearly 900 athletes, ages 30+, from throughout the world, including almost 80 from France, 30 from Russia, 80 from Brazil and nearly 20 from Azerbaijan - almost 50 countries attended the event at the luxurious Doral Golf Resort & Spa.
Winning gold for the USA today were:
Suldbayar Damdin, 73 kg of the M1 age group, 30 – 35 years old. Damdin hails from Arlington Judo and Washington Judo clubs in Virginia.
Vitaliy Vanyan, 66 kg., also fighting in the youngest age division at the tournament. His home club is Glendale Scholars in the Los Angeles area.
Maje Omagbaluwaje, who fought in the 90 kg division of the M3 age group, 40 to 44 years old. Omagbaluwaje trains at the Tohkon Judo Club in Chicago.
The Russian team continued to lead the overall medal count with a total of 12 gold medals, seven silver and seven bronze. Germany was a distant second with six gold medals, six silver and five bronze. With today’s victories, though, the U.S. athletes jumped to third place internationally from about seventh yesterday.
Competition continues tomorrow with M2 division, ages 35 to 39 years; M4 divisions, ages 45 to 49; and M5 ages 50 to 54 scheduled to battle in the Legends Ballroom.
Today’s competition was attended by some of the toughest fighters in the world who, near the age of 30, are close to their prime. Others medaling today for the United States were:
Peter Babjak, M3, 100 kg, claiming SILVER.
Gyula Kalman, M3, 81 kg, winning BRONZE.
Gene Eydelman, M1 age group, 90 kg, winning BRONZE.
Rafael Amato, M1, 100+ kg, taking BRONZE.
For complete results and brackets, go to IPPON.ORG.