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World Judo Champion Kayla Harrison takes silver in Venezuela
Boston native takes Silver at World Cup, turns attention to defending world title
By: Clay Morgan, Morgan Creative Services
Harrison, who is the reigning world judo champion in the women’s -78 kg weight division, trains with Team FORCE in Wakefield, Mass., and is originally from Middletown, Ohio. She entered the tournament ranked number two in the world.
She received a bye in the first round and faced Diana Chala of Ecuador in the second round. Harrison threw her opponent for a victory in less than a minute, using a combination sleeve wheel throw to outside reaping throw.
In her next match, she fought Marylise Levesque of Canada. It was a hard-fought match and Harrison won thanks to the Canadian accumulating three penalties.
In the final, Harrison fought rival Amy Cotton of Canada. The two had faced one another one week earlier in Miami, with Harrison coming out on top. However, the gold would belong to Cotton this time, thanks to Harrison receiving two questionable penalties during the match.
Harrison’s coach, Jimmy Pedro, a former world champion and two-time Olympic medalist, was more direct.
“For any other U.S. athlete a silver medal in a world cup would be a great feat, but for someone like Kayla who sets high expectations for herself, it is a little disappointing,”
He added that every single referee call in the final went against Harrison and that he felt at worst, the match should have been sent into overtime. However, Pedro put the tournament in perspective.
“In the grand scheme of things this event does not mean a thing to Kayla,” Pedro said. “The World Championships and Olympic Games are the only events that matter right now, and Kayla needs to use all of these matches as lessons to improve for the big events.”
Harrison’s next tournament will be the 2011 World Judo Championships in August in Paris. There, she will be fighting to defend her 2010 world judo title.
About Kayla Harrison
Kayla Harrison won the world judo championships on September 9 in Tokyo, Japan, making her only the fourth world champion from the United States. Her success in 2010 includes one grand prix gold medal and five world cup gold medals. Originally from Middletown, Ohio, she trains under the direction of 1999 World Judo Champion Jimmy Pedro at the Pedro Judo Center in Wakefield, Mass. She also receives support from the New York Athletic Club. Her website is http://www.kaylaharrison.com .
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