Kayla Harrison Takes Bronze At World Championships

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From USA Judo – August 26, 2011 – Team USA’s Kayla Harrison today achieved a rarity, taking Bronze in Paris to medal for the second year in a row at the World Championships.

“I am so proud of Kayla’s performance today,” said Jimmy Pedro, two-time Olympic Bronze Medalist and Team USA’s coach in Paris. “It is extremely difficult in the sport of judo to repeat as World Champion, but despite the pressure she fought amazingly. There’s no doubt she’s emotionally and psychologically ready to win the Olympics. In fact, this Bronze will just make her hungry to prove herself as the world’s best in London.”

It was a medal, but a Bronze. And it wasn’t the Gold that Harrison won last year at the World Championships in Tokyo in the 78 kg division. So even this huge victory today came with some disappointment for the champion. ”Today was a tough day,” Harrison said. “It just wasn’t my day. The French girl looked good and earned her World Title today.”

Frances Audrey Tcheumeo won the semi-final match against Harrison, but only after Harrison landed what appeared to be a solid throw that would have elevated her to the finals, except that referees called the throw out-of-bounds.

Harrison’s attention turned quickly to the Olympics. “The difference between me and the other girls on the podium,” Harrison continued, “is that I consider this a failure, and I will work harder now to become the first ever Olympic champion from America. Failure is my fuel.”

In her first win of the morning, Harrison ran the clock with a yuko to beat Canadian Catherine Roberge. Then Harrison turned up the heat, besting Mongolia’s Lkhamdegd Purevjargal with a solid ippon. Then she beat Japan’s Hitomi Ikeda with a wazari.

Then Harrison faced France’s Tcheumeo in the semi-finals. Tcheumeo caught Harrison with an inner foot reap, ouchi gari, scoring a yuko that carried the match. Harrison’s throw, meanwhile, was deemed out of bounds so Tcheumeo took the match and proceeded to beat Japan’s Akari Ogata for the Gold.

Harrison went on to win the Bronze after defeating Markinde Verkerk of the Netherlands with a throw for yuko.

“Kayla proved once again today that she truly is world class,”.Pedro said. “Although she had to settle for the Bronze, she knows she can beat one of her biggest nemesis, Tchuemo from France.”

Harrison said, “I would like to thank my teammates, my coaches, the Pedros, my sponsors, NYAC (New York Athletic Club), Hatashita Sports/Mizuno and Neocell, and the USA Judo staff. Without all of them, none of this would have been possible.”

Harrison’s Bronze adds to the 5th Place that Marti Malloy captured yesterday in the World Championships 57 kg division. Both women are considered strong fighters for Team USA at the Olympics in London next year.

For their victories at the World Championships, Harrison receives $4,000 in support from the US Olympic Committee. Malloy receives $3,000.

For complete results, go HERE.

To watch competition live today, click HERE.

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