Young US Guns Diaz and Hyatt Qualify for Youth Olympic Games

By Ernest Pund | Oct. 02, 2013, 6:48 p.m. (ET)

Two young judo stars, Adonis Diaz of Miami and Alex Hyatt of San Francisco, have qualified to represent the United States on USA Judo’s team at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, next year.

Diaz of USA Judo’s Training Site at Ki-Itsu-Sai in Coconut Creek, FL, said “I’m hoping that the path to the biggest event of my life so far is full of international tournaments and camps to prepare me physically and mentally for the Youth Olympics.”

Sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, this will be the second Youth Olympic Games, an international, multi-sport event first held in Singapore in August 2010, where Katelyn Bouyssou 52kg and Max Schneider 66kg each took gold medals for the United States.

“This is the first step in a yearlong adventure for these two great young athletes as they work to become the best that they can be in preparation for the Youth Olympics,” said Jim Hrbek, chairman of USA Judo’s Junior Athlete Performance Committee. “And, of course, there will be no pressure as they try to duplicate the gold medal efforts of their predecessors in the first Youth Olympics.”

"It is very exciting to see these two fighters qualify for what is sure to be a terrific event,” said USA Judo’s CEO, Jose H. Rodriguez. “I congratulate them, their parents and coaches for having achieved such a prestigious spot. I also congratulate our Director of High Performance, Eddie Liddie, and our Junior program Chair, Jim Hrbek, for their great results."

Diaz and Hyatt qualified for the Youth Olympic Games, scheduled for mid-August next year, at the International Judo Federation’s World Cadet Championships, hosted two months ago by USA Judo. Held in Diaz’ hometown of Miami, the 17-year-old went 3-2 to finish 5th out of 46 fighters from all over the world in his 55 kg. division.

Also qualifying at the Cadets was Alex Hyatt, who won her first match by ippon but then lost to the eventual gold medalist in her 44 kg. division. The 15-year-old hails from the Cahill’s Judo in San Bruno, CA, another of the top dojos in the nation.

Go to Youth Olympic Games for more on the competitions.