Contact: Ernest Pund, USA Judo Communications
August 7, 2013, Miami – Two Miami teens open four days of extreme competition on home turf tomorrow for Team USA at the nation’s first World Cadet Championships, a super elite tournament reserved for only the very best young judo fighters who qualify from around the globe.
Adonis Diaz, 17, and Brian Abreu, 15, will be among nearly 600 teens from more than 80 nations, with big teams coming from Latin America, Europe and Asia, taking to the mats beneath the chandeliers in the Legends Ballroom at the Doral Golf Resort in Spa, just minutes from the beaches of Miami. They’ll be gunning for $50,000 in prize money for making the podium and a shot at a spot at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing next year.
Diaz, 55 kg., of USA Judo Training Site at Ki-Itsu-Sai in Coconut Creek, said, "I am focused on our tournament, I am relaxing, and I have my head in the game.” But, first things first: the draws for his division are scheduled this afternoon, when athletes find out who they face first in the brackets. “I am hoping for the best, but expecting the worst -- draw wise,” Diaz said. “I feel as ready as can be.”
Abreu, 50 kg., Budokan Judo in Hialeah, said, “I'm training and I am focused on winning. I picture myself on the mat, winning, and standing on the podium … I feel like I have to give the best impression possible, and I just can't lose.”
Two more South Florida athletes fight Friday, Ashlyn White, 48 kg., and Katherinne Lieby, 52 kg., of Pembroke Pines. The subset of South Florida athletes indicates once again that this part of the country is a leader in raising top up-and-coming judo stars.
Members of the U.S. team have come from all over the nation, Hawaii to New York, California to Florida. Six are from Florida, a rising power of young judo talent. See the US ROSTER.
For more than one reason, tomorrow is a particularly huge day for 14-year-old San Franciscan Alex Hyatt, the third member of the 19-strong U.S. team to fight tomorrow.
“Firstly, I represent my country in the most prestigious international judo tournament for my age group, and secondly it is also my Birthday – I turn 15 this 8th of August.”
Hyatt s also among the youngest there, too, potentially facing seasoned international fighters 17 years old in her 44 kg. division.
“Winning a medal would be the best present I could ever ask for,” said Hyatt, “and I intend to go all out – big thanks to all my dedicated coaches from Cahill's Judo Academy (San Bruno, CA) and from San Jose State University Judo. You have all inspired me to be the best that I can be.”
The World Cadet Championships is sanctioned by the International Judo Federation and hosted by USA Judo, the national governing body under the U.S. Olympic Committee that fosters the sport and builds teams for Olympic and other elite competition. The World Cadet Judo Championships is made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.