Annie Truong and Team Head Coach Brett Wolf
Two young sibling U.S. judo fighters, George and Annie Truong, took gold and silver medals respectively at the super competitive Flanders Cup, an annual international tournament that attracts hundreds of top junior judoka.The Truongs add their medals to thebronze won by U.S. athlete Lauren De Smidt (Club Olympia Judo, Fond du Lac, WI) who took the bronze yesterday at the Flanders Cup in Lommel, Belgium.
Both George, 18, and Annie, 16, hail from the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. George fought in the under 20-year-old division and Annie fought in U-17.
George Truong went 7 - 0 to take first place in the 66kg division, clawing his way through brackets that included 28 of Europe’s top juniors. George was fighting a weight division up from his normal 60 kg. After winning a flag decision in his first match, Truong continued a steady climb. In the final, he scored a gorgeous lefty morote seoi nage against his opponent from theNetherlands to take the top spot on the podium.
"I had a great day,” George said. “Brett and I finally found our rhythm. I worked on some new things today and they actually worked. All in all, I'm extremely pleased with my performance."
His sister, Annie was competing in her first tournament since November last year at the Junior World Championships, sidelined by shoulder surgery last December. She proved that she's backbetter than ever by takingthesilver medal in the U-17 48kg division.
Truong got off to a strong start by scoring a decisive victory in her first match. She scored a quick wazari with a kouchi gari and finished her opponent from the Netherlands by pinning her for a second wazari. Annie Truong followed with a hard earned win over the reigning Dutch champion in her next match. Two more quick ippon victories put her in final which she lost in a tough battle against an opponent from the host country, finishing with the silver at this prestigious event.
"I was a little nervousgoing into my first match, because I haven't competed in so long,” she said. ”Once I got that first score, it was business as usual. It felt really good to get back on the mat. Although I came up a little short in the final, I'm excited looking towards the future."
Also fighting Sunday were Arthur Ghukasyan of Glendale, CA, who went 2-2 for the day in the 66 kg division U-17. Cole Freeman ( Fayetteville, North Carolina ) went 2-1 in the U-17 60 kg division.
For the weekend, the eight member U.S. team won an extremely impressive 21 matches. Considering the level of competition, it was a very successful tournament.
"Lynn and I can't say enough about this group of kids,” Team Head Coach Brett Wolf of Menomonee Judo in Chicago, Ill. “They showed that not only can they compete against top level European competition, but win matches and medals. The future looks extremely bright for USA Judo," said.
The roster of athletes includes:
1. George Truong
2. Annie Truong
3. Grant Johnson
4. Lauren De Smidt
5. Cole Freeman
6. Caroline Zieba
7. Gabrielle Proksa
8. Arthur Ghukasyan