Marti Malloy Takes Gold, Angelica Delgado Bronze at WORLD CUP MIAMI

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57kg_malloy_usa_barkeling_swe_8447_rafal_burza_cbjFrom USA Judo:

July 1, 2011 – Miami, FL – USA Judo’s Marti Malloy won a solid gold victory today at World Cup Miami, the largest international judo competition this country has probably ever seen with more than 50 countries sending fighters to collect the points needed to qualify for Olympics teams headed to London next year.

“This is huge for me,” said Malloy, 57kg (USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University). “I went to this tournament last year for the first time and won, so I felt the pressure to do that again.”

Also climbing the podium for Team USA was Angelica Delgado, 52kg (Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center in Coral Springs, FL), who took a bronze medal after defeating Yulieth Sanchez of Columbia.

With the tournament virtually in her hometown, the victory was particularly sweet for Delgado. “It’s nice to have my parents, friends and family who see me train so hard day in and day out, get a chance to see the results,” she said.

And the tournament, which continues tomorrow (and can again be viewed as a LIVE webcast beginning at 6 p.m. EST), is a huge success for USA Judo, hosting the event on home soil.

“The competition truly is, without a doubt, the best and highest level that we have ever had,” said Lance Nading, USA Judo’s board president. “Having the most countries ever is easy to quantify on paper. What is harder to quantify is the level of competition and that far exceeds our expectations.”

And Marti Malloy was more than up for the challenge. Malloy wowed the crowd with a huge shoulder throw for ippon and the gold medal just seconds into overtime against German Miryam Roper.

Much of the match to that point was fought on the ground with both fighters searching for arm locks and the German trapping Malloy’s leg to avoid a pin with just 50 seconds left in the regular round. The match entered overtime after Roper was penalized and Malloy suffered a minor throw to tie the rivals.

“Marty’s got some newaza, she’s got some ground work,” said Leo White, former Olympian and commentator for the event. But it was a stunning throw that finished the match. “There’s a lesson there,” said White. “Don’t follow in judo,” which was exactly what the German did when Malloy landed the killing throw.

Delgado, too, took her medal by defeating the Columbian, Sanchez, with a tremendous throw, an outer reap, osoto gari, for ippon in just a little over 3 ½ minutes into the match.

Such a beautiful throw put an instant smile on Delgado’s face and a bronze medal around her neck. Beginning early in the match, Delgado controlled the fight with smart gripping and scored a yuko with an inner reap just moments before clinching the match with the decisive osoto. “She took the Columbian out of her game by controlling her sleeve,” noted White, who was joined by fellow USA Judo director Kennis Monte Bellmard II calling the highlights along with Latin drums that led the entertainment for the evening.

Delgado started the day with a victory against Russian Anna Kharitonova. She lost her second match but then returned to the mat against Sanchez to capture the bronze.

“I’m fighting a lot smarter – that would be a word for it … ‘smarter.’ I’m trying to be more patient and confident in my attacks,” Delgado said.

“I would have really liked to have won my semifinal match,” said Delgado of her fight against Germany’s Romy Tarangul. But, said Delgado, “she is a tough competitor. I felt like I gave it my all. I still feel like I have a lot to learn but it’s a good start,” she said.

Then Delgado renewed her climb. “I was so relieved,” she said. “There’s a lot of pressure when you’re fighting at home, but it’s definitely more rewarding to win in front of your family and friends.”

Malloy ran straight for the gold, beginning the day with a bye-round then defeating Russian Pari Surakatova, Spain’s Isabel Fernandez and Canada’s Joliane Melancon before defeating Germany’s Roper.

“It is indeed a very unique opportunity for us in the U.S. to have the level of competition that we have here at this event, just prior to the Olympics,” said Jose H. Rodriguez, USA Judo’s CEO.

It was tough day for USA Judo favorites Nick Delpopolo, 73kg (NYAC/USA Judo National Team FORCE, Wakefiled, Mass.) and Michael Eldred, 73kg (Western Idaho Judo Institute), who are recovering from injuries. Delpopolo was suffering from a strained pectoral muscle and Eldred was fighting with a broken bone in his right foot. Neither made it to the podium.

The bottom line is that the Olympics don’t allow a lot of elbow room for recovery. “The new qualifying system (for the Olympics) is unforgiving. You don’t get six weeks to recover from an injury, so you just have to fight through it,” said Eddie Liddie, USA Judo’s Director of High Performance.

For complete results, click HERE.

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