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Nick Delpopolo Takes Fifth at Judo Grand Prix

February 19, 2011
Article Attributed To: Free Press Release


Boston-area resident records second top-5 finish in three weeks

DUSSELDORF, GERMANY – Nick Delpopolo of Boston, competed in judo’s Dusseldorf Grand Prix Saturday, taking fifth in a field of 43 competitors. He trains with Team FORCE, based in Wakefield, Mass., and represents USA Judo in tournaments throughout the world.

Delpopolo opened the tournament with a bye past the first round of the 73kg weight division.

In the second round, he faced a powerful athlete from China, Qingdong Zeng. He won the match by a yuko (small score) and moved on to fight Mancel Trudov, a successful Moldavian judo athlete who had already smashed two opponents earlier in the tournament. Delpopolo threw the Moldavian with an uchi mata (inner thigh throw), scoring strongly, and then finished Trudov off with a strong foot sweep to win the match.

"Nick looked great early in the day,” Head Coach Jimmy Pedro, a former world champion and two-time Olympic medalist, said. “He beat a very tough Chinese guy by yuko, and then destroyed the Moldavian by two waza aris (strong scores) throwing him with uchi mata and a foot sweep."

He then faced Yuki Nishiyama of Japan, an experienced competitor ranked 21st in the world. The Japanese athlete managed to take the lead by a yuko (small score) – the only points in the five-minute match – after Delpopolo was given a passivity penalty, and hang on for the win. Nishiyama went on to win the bronze medal.

"He's just a step away from beating the class of the division,” Pedro said. “He needs to learn how to make the Asians more uncomfortable and make stronger attacks from non-traditional grips. Once he grasps this, he will be a force in the division.”

Delpopolo has had a strong run the last three weeks. He placed fifth in the Grand Slam Paris on Feb. 5 and also competed in the World Cup Budapest last weekend, before securing another fifth-place win today, keeping him in contention for the 2012 Olympic Games.

"I was very disappointed and frustrated with my performance last week in Hungary and I wanted to redeem myself by fighting for a medal in Germany,” Delpopolo said. “Coming out of the European tour with two top-five finishes in Paris and Germany are steps in the right direction, but I won't be satisfied until I'm winning these events."

Delpopolo will attend an international training camp this week in Germany and will return to the Boston area on Feb. 28.


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