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Kayla Harrison Reaches No. 1 World Ranking With Grand Prix Victory

By USA Judo | June 15, 2015, 11:52 p.m. (ET)

Kayla Harrison (second from left) stands atop the podium at the Grand Prix Budapest on June 14, 2015 in Budapest.

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Kayla Harrison dethrones former No. 1 in the IJF world rank, Audrey Tcheumeo, with this weekend’s victory at the Grand Prix Budapest. Kayla reached the No. 2 spot three weeks ago when she won the World Judo Masters in Morocco and now she leads the ranking with 2610 points; 200 points over Tcheumeo.

Kayla fought a total of four rounds kicking off the tournament against Cuba’s Yalennis Castillo and ultimately beating 2014 World Championships bronze medalist, Anamari Velensek of Slovenia, in the final for the gold. Among her opponents was last year’s Grand Prix Budapest winner, Marhinde Verkerk, which in this occasion Kayla defeated in the semifinal.

“I'm feeling good. I hope to continue to show dominance in the division and gain valuable Olympic points with the ultimate goal always being Rio 2016,” Harrison said.

Other Olympic champions such as Idalys Ortiz (CUB), Arsen Galstyan (RUS) and Tagir Khaibulaev (RUS) joined Harrison at this tournament as the momentum picks up towards August’s World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan and the looming Rio 2016 Olympic Games. A total of 410 athletes from 67 delegations competed over the course of the weekend with Olympic qualifications points on offer during the event.

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Kayla Harrison