Nick Delpopolo won the silver medal in the men’s 81 kg. division Saturday at the grand prix in Qingdao, China.
Moving up from the 73 kg. division where he was a two-time Olympian, Delpopolo earned a spot in the gold-medal bout with a golden score victory over Romania’s Elemer Szocs. The 21-year-old former junior European Cup champion fell to Delpopolo, a two-time grand prix bronze medalist, 20 seconds into overtime.
With the win, Delpopolo squared off against Lee Jaehyung for gold. The 2010 Youth Olympic champion from South Korea entered the tournament with no senior results and was seeded 11th to Delpopolo’s sixth seed, but he proved to be a worthy opponent. Lee was the aggressor, scoring a waza-ari to claim his first grand prix title.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, Delpopolo will return to competition Dec. 2 at the Grand Slam Tokyo.