USA Judo News Maria Laborde Upsets...

Maria Laborde Upsets World No. 4 to Place Seventh at Zagreb Grand Prix

By Nicole Jomantas | July 20, 2022, 6:17 a.m. (ET)

Maria Laborde throws World no. 4 Melanie VIeu (FRA) in the opening round. Photo Credit: IJF  

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The return to top international form continued on Friday for Maria Laborde (Kenosha, Wis. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) who placed seventh in the 48kg event at the Zagreb Grand Prix in Croatia, dispatching the World No. 4 in the process.

Laborde’s last full international season was in 2014 when she won bronze for her native Cuba at the Senior World Championships at 24 years old.

Now at 31, Laborde is representing Team USA, earning bronze at the Senior Pan American Championships in April and entering her second World Tour event this weekend as she continues to earn points towards qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Laborde’s first round was a walkover win against Shihanah Alsehaly (KSA) which allowed her to advance to the round of 16 against World No. 4 Catarina Costa (POR) – a fifth-place finisher at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Laborde needed just over a minute to throw the 2022 European Championships silver medalist for ippon (instant win) to earn a position in the quarter-finals.

In her next bout, Laborde was caught by Melanie Vieu (FRA) with a throw for a waza-ari (half-point) score. Vieu transitioned directly into a pin to close out the match before going on to win her third career Grand Prix medal with a silver.

Laborde took her repechage match against Tugce Beder (TUR) to Golden Score (sudden death overtime), but Beder won the match with a quick throw for ippon. Beder would go on to win her second Grand Prix medal with a bronze.

With just four international competitions on her record, Laborde continues to move up the World Rankings List where she is currently No. 42 at 48kg in a system that counts the top six best results per athlete in each of the last two years.

Reigning Senior National Champion Jack Yonezuka (West Long Branch, N.J. / NYAC / Cranford Judo & Karate Center) earned his first top-16 result at a Senior World Tour event with a 2-1 finish in the 73kg division on Saturday. In the first round, Yonezuka looked to be headed to Golden Score when he threw Samuel Gassner (AUT) for a waza-ari with five seconds on the clock. In the next round, Yonezuka threw 2018 Youth Olympian Turpal Djoukaev (FIN) for a waza-ari just over a minute into Golden Score. With one more win needed to remain in medal contention, Yonezuka faced Manuel Lombardo (ITA) and was thrown for ippon early in the match by the 2021 Senior World silver medalist who went on to win gold in Zagreb.

Team USA concluded the tournament on Sunday with two more top-16 results. 

Christian Konoval (Rockport, Texas / NYAC / Becerra Judo) also entered the Zagreb event as a final tuneup prior to competing at his third Junior World Championships at +100kg. After a bye into the second round, Konoval threw Yelaman Yergaliyev (KAZ) for a pair of waza-ari scores. In the next round, Konoval was thrown for ippon by 2018 Senior World silver medalist Ushangi Kokauri (AZE) who went on to win bronze. Konoval finished in the top 16, following his top-five finish in January at the Portugal Grand Prix and at top-seven at the Paris Grand Slam in October.

John Jayne (Chicago, Ill.) followed his top-seven result at the Hungary Grand Slam last week with a top-16 result in Zagreb. The 2022 Senior Pan Am bronze medalist at 90kg earned a bye into the second round where he fought Diego Diaz (MEX) – a 2022 Junior Pan Am silver medalist at 81kg. Diaz threw Jayne for a waza-ari score in the second minute, but Jayne came back to throw Diaz twice more to close the bout with two waza-aris. In the next round, Jayne stayed with 2019 Senior World Champion Noel Van T End (NED) for most of the match, but was thrown for a waza-ari with 90 seconds on the clock and was unable to produce a score to come back.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Women’s 48kg
1. Wakana Koga (JPN)
2. Melanie Vieu (FRA)
3. Laura Martinez Abelenda (ESP)
3. Tugce Beder (TUR)
5. Tamar Malca (ISR)
5. Milica Nikolic (SRB)
7. Maria Laborde (Kenosha, Wis. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)
7. Shira Rishony (ISR)

Women’s 52kg
1. Uta Abe (JPN)
2. Distria Krasniqi (KOS)
3. Fabienne Kocher (SUI)
3. Gefen Primo (ISR)
5. Soumiya Iraoui (MAR)
5. Mascha Ballhaus (GER)
7. Khorloodoi Bishrelt (MGL)
7. Estrella Lopez Sheriff (ESP)

Also Competed: Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla. / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center), 0-1
Katelyn Jarrell (East Greenwich, R.I. / NYAC / Mayo Quanchi), 0-1

Women’s 57kg
1. Christa Deguchi (CAN)
2. Eteri Liparteliani (GEO)
3. Mina Libeer (BEL)
3. Ichinkhorloo Munkhtsedev (MGL)
5. Arnaes Odelin Garcia (CUB)
5. Kaja Jajzer (SLO)
7. Timna Nelson Levy (ISR)
7. Tihea Topolovec (CRO)

Also Competed: Mariah Holguin (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo), 0-1

Women’s 63kg
1. Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (CAN)
2. Anriquelis Barrios (VEN)
3. Ketleyn Quadros (BRA)
3. Gankhaich Bold (MGL)
5. Gili Sharir (ISR)
5. Cristina Cabana Perez (ESP)
7. Iva Oberan (CRO)
7. Ariela Sanchez (DOM)

Women’s 70kg
1. Barbara Matic (CRO)
2. Miriam Butkereit (GER)
3. Elvismar Rodriguez (VEN)
3. Lara Cvjetko (CRO)
5. Ai Tsunoda Roustant (ESP)
5. Aoife Coughlan (AUS)
7. Michaela Polleres (AUT)
7. Maria Portela (BRA)

Also Competed: Chantal Wright: (San Antonio, Texas / Semper Fortis Judo), 0-1

Women’s 78kg
1. Natalie Powell (GBR)
2. Inbar Lanir (ISR)
3. Natascha Ausma (NED)
3. Mayra Aguiar (BRA)
5. Karen Stevenson (NED)
5. Beata Pacut-Kloczko (POL)
7. Kaliema Antomarchi (CUB)
7. Petrunjela Pavic (CRO)

Women’s +78kg
1. Raz Hershko (ISR)
2. Milica Zabic (SRB)
3. Adiyasuren Amarsaikhan (MGL)
3. Lea Fontaine (FRA)
5. Sophio Somkhishvili (GEO)
5. Larisa Ceric (BIH)
7. Moira Morillo (DOM)
7. Sebile Akbulut (TUR)

Men’s 60kg
1. Magzhan Shamshadin (KAZ)
2. Won Jin Kim (KOR)
3. Genki Koga (JPN)
3. Giorgi Sardalashvili (GEO)
5. Francisco Garrigos (ESP)
5. Maxime Merlin (FRA)
7. Ariunbold Enkhtaivan (MGL)
7. Hakberdi Jumayev (TKM)

Also Competed: Jacob More (Alva, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center), 0-1
David Terao (Arlington, Va.), 0-1

Men’s 66kg
1. Yashar Najafor (AZE)
2. Matteo Piras (ITA)
3. Ivo Verhorstert (NED)
3. Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (MGL)
5. Yanislav Gerchev (BUL)
5. Lucian Bors Dumitrescu (ROU)
7. Yeldos Smetov (KAZ)
7. Jaehong An (KOR)

Also Competed: Isaiah Ramirez (Barstow, Calif. / Barstow PAL Judo Club), 0-1

Men’s 73kg
1. Manuel Lombardo (ITA)
2. Madiel Estrada (CUB)
3. Eunkyul Lee (KOR)
3. Eunkyul Lee (KOR)
5. Martin Hojak (SLO)
5. Pedro Medeiros (BRA)
7. Kilian Le Blouch (FRA)
7. Abdul Malik Umayev (BEL)

Also Competed: Dominic Rodriguez (Lehigh Acres, Fla. / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center), 0-1

Men’s 81kg
1. Alpha Oumar Djalo (FRA)
2. Saeid Mollaei (AZE)
3. Joao Fernando (POR)
3. Tato Grigalashvili (GEO)
5. Achraf Moutii (MAR)
5. Guilherme Schimidt (BRA)
7. Zelim Tckaev (AZE)
7. Sebastian Marcinkiewicz (POL)

Also Competed: Nicolas Yonezuka (West Long Branch, N.J. / NYAC / Cranford Judo & Karate Center), 1-1
Kell Berliner (Cumming, Ga. / Jason Morris Judo Center), 0-1

Men’s 90kg
1. Beka Gviniashvili (GEO)
2. Rafael Macedo (BRA)
3. Kenta Nagasawa (JPN)
3. Eduard Trippel (GER)
5. Noel Van T End (NED)
5. Francis Damier (FRA)
7. Ivan Felipe Silva Morales (CUB)
7. Dzhakhongir Madzhidov (TJK)

Also Competed: John Jayne (Chicago, Ill.), 1-1

Men’s 100kg
1. Michael Korrel (NED)
2. Ilia Sulamandize (GEO)
3. Daniel Eich (SUI)
3. Piotr Kuczera (POL)
5. Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (ESP)
5. Zsombor Veg (HUN)
7. Simeon Catharina (NED)
7. Nurlykhan Sharkhan (KAZ)

Also Competed: L.A. Smith (Rahway, N.J.), 0-1
Nate Keeve (San Rafael, Calif. / New York Athletic Club), 0-1

Men’s +100kg
1. Jur Spijkers (NED)
2. Tsetsentsengel Odkhuu (MGL)
3. Erik Abramov (GER)
3. Ushangi Kokauri (AZE)
5. Martti Puumalainen (FIN)
5. Gela Zaalishvili (GEO)
7. Rafael Silva (BRA)
7. Lukas Krpalek (CZE)

Also Competed: Christian Konoval (Rockport, Texas / NYAC / Becerra Judo), 1-1