MIAMI – May 10, 2012 – U.S. judo fighter Hana Carmichael went four rounds at USA Judo’s World Cup Miami today to take gold at this elite competition that was otherwise dominated by the Cuban Olympic Team that arrived here last week to train and compete.
“For Hana, this is probably the best day of her life in judo,” said U.S. Olympic Judo Coach Jimmy Pedro. This was her first gold medal at a World Cup tournament. “It was a great day, a great experience for her. It pushed her limits and capabilities in some really good matches.”
“Judo is all about confidence,” Pedro said. And now that Carmichael has stood on the top spot of the podium, she’s more likely to do it again at an elite, international tournament.
Carmichael 78 kg (Team FORCE, Wakefield, Mass) ran the clock in her first two matches to win on yukos, or minor scores, and penalties. In her third match, she threw Mexico’s Ana Leon with a massive ouchi gari for an ippon to end the bout instantly. That put Carmichael in the finals against Austrian Tina Zeltner, who she threw for yuko by countering Zeltner’s kata garuma with a harai goshi.
Carmichael’s golden victory was sweet, but the dominant team was Cuba’s, taking three gold medals for the day: Dayaris Mestre Alvarez, 48 kg, Yanet Bermoy Acosta, 52 kg, and Ronald Girones, 73 kg.
Cuban Coach Ronald Veitia said of the day’s results, “we are satisfied. We are not there yet,” not yet ready for the Olympics. The goal, he said, is success at the Olympics. The Cuban Olympic Team, including four who collected medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, has been training at clubs in the Miami area since last week and competing in the tournaments this weekend.
Other gold medals at the World Cup today were captured by Brazil’s Diego Santos and Austria’s Georg Reiter.
For the United States, this tournament was also a chance for some young, up-and-coming stars. Miami athlete Angelica Delgado, 52 kg (Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center, Coral Springs, FL) took a bronze. Christal Ransom, 63 kg (US Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, CO) took silver. In the same division, Hannah Martin (NYAC/Jason Morris Judo, Scotia, NY) took bronze.
At his first World Cup tournament ever, George Truong, 60 kg (US Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, CO), went 1-1 to take bronze in his division. Truong said, “I had a decent amount of fun. I feel a little beat down but I am excited.” Truong is 17.
“I am really excited for him,” said his coach, Eddie Liddie, also USA Judo’s Director of High Performance. Truong can look forward to competing in the Olympics in 2016 and 2020, Liddie said.
Also taking bronze in 60kg division was Aaron Kunihiro (Team FORCE, Wakefield, Mass.). Taking fifth in the division was Nicholas Kossor (NYAC/Jason Morris Judo, Scotia, NY).
Brad Bolen, 66 kg (NYAC/Jason Morris Judo, Scotia, NY), took bronze in his division. Sharing fifth place in the 73 kg division were U.S. judoka Joseph Hasimoto and Adam Moyerman.
Go to IPPON.ORGfor complete brackets, results and rosters.
Competition continues tomorrow with a likely battle between Olympic silver medalist from Cuba, Yalennis Castillo Ramirez and U.S. judo star Kayla Harrison (NYAC/Team FORCE, Wakefield, Mass.) in the 73 kg division.
Story by Ernest Pund, USA Judo Communications