Angelica Delgado wins bronze medal on opening day of the Dusseldorf Grand Slam vastly improving 2020 Olympic qualification status
Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla./Ki-itsu-sai National Training Center/New York Athletic Club) took a giant step forward on her journey to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan today by winning a bronze medal in the women’s 52kg division at the Dusseldorf Grand Slam International Judo Federation World Tour event in Dusseldorf, Germany. Today’s performance earned 500 valuable Olympic qualification points for the 2016 USA Olympian moving her significantly up the international ranking ladder and solidifying her status as USA Judo’s top 2020 Olympic contender. It also puts her in contention to compete for a coveted top eight seed in the Olympic bracket which would greatly enhance potential to win a medal at this summer’s Olympic Games. The world’s best judoka will battle it out for Olympic qualification and ranking points through May 30, 2020.
“I feel great; it feels really good to get a Grand Slam medal in an Olympic year when so much is on the line,” said Delgado. “It feels like I could really be a contender to get an Olympic medal this year. Everyone is at these events; these European Grand Slams are probably going to be the hardest tournaments of the year so I feel really good; it’s a great way to start the year off. I just want to keep getting better and keep improving as the year goes on, but this is a great way for me to start. In 2012, unfortunately I didn’t make the team (U.S. Olympic Team) and in 2016 I made it as a wild card so basically I had a lot of points from other tournaments, but I had never placed at a Grand Slam or Grand Prix prior to the 2016 Rio (Olympic) Games; then right after 2016 I started placing here and there at Grand Prix and Grand Slams, but I had never gotten a medal in an Olympic year so this really means a lot to me.”
Starting with a first round bye in Pool A, Delgado defeated Turkey’s Irem Korkmaz and Spain’s Nina Estefania Esteo Linne before succumbing to eventual silver medalist Amandine Buchard of France. In the repechage Delgado defeated the host country’s (GER) Verena Thumm and Israel’s Gili Cohen to win the bronze medal. Uta Abe of Japan was the gold medalist.
“Especially in an Olympic year, competing in judo with all of the top players I think is really something good. I’m very proud of Angelica and happy for her,” said Coach Jhonny Prado (Coral Springs, Fla./ Ki-itsu-sai National Training Center). “In her last match for the medal she was really focused and took care of business. She looked like a champ. I’m really proud of her. She looks more confident than ever. This is going to be a good motivator going into Tokyo for sure.”
Also earning valuable ranking points (120) was Team USA’s Alaa El Idrissi (Philadelphia, Pa./El Idrissi Judo Academy) in the men’s 66kg division. Following a first round bye in Pool D, El Idrissi defeated Khaled Amhad, an IJF refugee athlete, before falling to Brazil’s Daniel Cargnin in the round of 32.
Other USA Judo athletes seeing action on day one of the Dusseldorf Grand Slam, but not advancing were Jenna Schurr (Torrance, Calif./U.C. Davis Judo Club/48kg Female); Adonis Diaz (Hialeah, Fla./Ki-itsu-sai National Training Center/NYAC/ 60kg Male); Amelia Fulgentes (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./ Ki-itsu-sai National Training Center/57kg, Female) and Leilani Akiyama (Escondido, Calif/57kg, Female).
More of USA Judo’s top 2020 Olympic hopefuls and senior elite level athletes will be among the 670 competitors representing 116 countries looking to earn valuable Olympic qualification and world ranking points with competition continuing in the Dusseldorf Grand Slam on Saturday and Sunday. Tomorrow’s competition will see medals awarded in the women’s 63kg and 70kg, as well as the men’s 73kg and 81kg divisions. The event which is being held at the 6,500 seat ISS Dome in Dusseldorf concludes on Sunday, February 23 with action in the women’s 78kg, over 78kg and men’s 90kg, 100kg and over 100kg weight divisions. John Jayne (Chicago, Ill./90kg, Male) will be looking to ride the momentum of his two victory (160 point) performance in the Paris Grand Slam just two weeks ago.
For those wanting to follow the event live, it will be streamed at live.ijf.org.
The roster of USA Judo athletes competing at the 2020 Dusseldorf Grand Slam is listed below:
-48kg; Jenna Schurr (Torrance, Calif./U.C. Davis Judo Club)
-52kg; Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla./Ki-itsu-sai NTC/NYAC) - BRONZE
-57kg; Leilani Akiyama (Escondido, Calif.)
-57kg; Amelia Fulgentes (Fort Lauderdale, Fla../ Ki-itsu-sai National Training Center)
-63kg; Alisha Galles (Lancaster, Calif./New York Athletic Club)
-63kg; Hannah Martin (Schenectady, N.Y./ New York Athletic Club)
-78kg; Nicole Stout (Schenectady, N.Y./Jason Morris Judo Center)
+78kg; Nina Cutro-Kelly (Selma, Texas/Universal Judo)
-60kg; Adonis Diaz (Hialeah, Fla./Ki-itsu-sai National Training Center/NYAC) -66kg; Alaa El Idrissi (Philadelphia, Pa./El Idrissi Judo Academy) - Round of 16 -73 kg; Alex Turner (Whitesboro, N.Y./ Ki-itsu-sai National Training Center/NYAC) -81kg; Kell Berliner (Schenectady, N.Y./Jason Morris Judo Center) -81kg; Nick Delpopolo (Ft. Worth, Texas/ Ft. Worth Judo Club) -90kg; John Jayne (Chicago, Ill.) -100kg; L.A. Smith III (Rahway, N.J.) +100kg Greg Prior (San Mateo, Calif./San Jose State University Judo)
Jhonny Prado (Coral Springs, Fla./ Ki-itsu-sai National Training Center)
IJF Referee Assignment:
Robert Donaldson (Landover, Md./College Park Judo Club, Inc.)
Please monitor the USA Judo website at https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Judo and social media channels for more information. The IJF social media hashtag for the event is #JudoDusseldorf.