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Delpopolo Takes 5th at Paris Grand Slam
February 4, 2012
Paris, France 22 year old Nick Delpopolo repeated his 2011 performance by taking 5th at the 2012 Paris Grand Slam out of 58 competitors. Nick secures big ranking points as 5th at a Grand Slam is 60 points, equivalent to 2nd at a World Cup.
Due to his being ranked in the top 16 in the World, Nick received a double bye to the main draw where his first match was against Emmanuel Nartey of Ghana who lives in Great Britain and trains with Team Bath. These two last met in the finals of the GB World Cup where Nick won throwing Nartey for ippon. Delpopolo improved his record to 2-0 against Nartey after scoring Wazari and two yuko’s. This win moved Nick into the round of 16 against former World Bronze medalist Krysztof Wilkomirski (POL). Delpopolo and Wilkomirski squared off for the 5th time in their career’s with Wilkomirski coming into todays bout with a 3-1 record over Delpopolo. Wilkomirski started the match out strong footsweeping Nick for a yuko at the half way mark in the match. Nick answered back scoring a yuko of his own with a combination attack at the 2 minute mark. The match ended with both players tied at a yuko apiece and the men found themselves in their fourth overtime meeting. Nick applied a ton of pressure in the extra time coming in for several deep attacks that Wilkomirski had to spin out of and the American was rewarded for his hard work when Wilkomirski received two penalties, the last one coming with 9 seconds left in overtime to give Nick the win and move him into the Quarter Final.
Four matches after Nick’s overtime win he took the mat again to face World #10 Naim-Ochir Sainjargal (MGL) who came into the match fresh as he received a walkover to get to Delpopolo. Nick defeated Sainjargal in their previous meeting also at this event in 2011 by 2 penalties to 1. The Mongolian turned the tables on Nick by defeating him 2 penalties to 1 after a hard five minute match, Sainjargal went on to win the gold medal.
Delpopolo turns 23 years old this Wednesday and he will celebrate his birthday by doing two-a-days at the French training camp which is traditionally the hardest training camp on the tour as over 400 of the Worlds top Judoka work out on the tatami at the same time. In a phone call after todays competition Nick put some perspective on his performance
“I felt pretty good today, 5th is a hard result because your so close to walking away with a medal and a check, but its good for me to keep putting in these results to show that I am right there with the top players in the World and very close to where I want to be.” Nick finished his thought saying “I’m going to make sure I get to workout as much as I can with the top 10 players in the World at the camp so I can stratagize with my team for my next competition”