Banner year breeds bigger tourneys

By Ernest Pund | Jan. 02, 2013, 12:58 a.m. (ET)

For USA Judo, 2012 was a banner year for tournaments marked by huge increases in participation.

The Senior Nationals in April, including kata and Paralympic competition, climbed to nearly 540 competitors, almost 40 percent over the numbers for that tourney in 2011. The National Scholastics drew a 20 percent increase in competitors for 470. And the Presidents Cup in Irvine, CA, attracted nearly four times the number of fighters, 263, in June. On the brink of the Olympic Games in London, the U.S. Junior Olympics Championships in Irving, Texas, also saw substantial numbers convene for top competition.

USA Judo marked its third year hosting the International Judo Federation’s World Cup Miami where Kayla Harrison, still on the road to the Olympics, defeated Cuba’s 2008 Olympic silver medalist, Yalennis Castillo Ramirez. USA Judo was granted the opportunity to host the World Masters Judo Championship, also held at the luxurious Doral Golf Resort & Spa, just minutes from the fabled white sands of Miami.

Success at these international tournaments paved the way for USA Judo to host other major, IJF-sanctioned tournaments on U.S. soil this year, including the International Junior Olympic Championships slated for June (location to be determined) and the World Cadets tournament to be held in Miami Aug. 8 - 11.

By Ernest Pund, USA Judo Communications