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Nick Delpopolo wins Pan American Championships
April 22, 2013
San Jose, Costa Rica 24 year old Olympian Nick Delpopolo made a huge statement by going 4-0 to win 73kg gold at the 2013 Pan American Judo Championships. Before the event started Nick was part of a meet and greet that featured Olympians from all around the Pan American Union who met and interacted with young Judoka from Costa Rica.
Delpopolo, who also became a newly crowned national champion a week prior to the Pan Ams, was competing in the largest division of the tournament which boasted 21 competitors. After a first round bye Nick started his run to the title by defeating Fernando Ibanez of Ecuador. Moving into the quarter final Nick pinned Luis Galindo of Colombia and advanced to the semi final with Pan Am rival Bruna Mendoca of Brazil. The Brazilian had won their 3 previous match ups by ippon (match ending score) but in Costa Rica it would be a much different story. Nick came out aggresivly and attacked numerous times forcing Mendoca into receiving a stalling penalty. With coach Evelio Garcia calling for a second penalty Nick lifted Mencoda high in the air with uchi-mata and slammed him for the match ending ippon sending him to the gold medal match for the first time in his three Pan Am appearances.
The final pitted Delpopolo against Magdiel Estrada from Cuba. Nick started off strongly and twice knocked the Cuban down for near scores. With a little under 2 minutes remaining in their 5 minute match Nick slammed Estrada with Osoto for ippon and earned his spot on top of the podium.
This result moves Nick up 10 spots on the World Ranking list from #16 to #6 which currently secures a seed for him at the World Championships in Rio De Janeiro where seeds are handed out to the top 8 ranked players in the World. Nick will continue competing at the toughest tournaments on the IJF World tour this summer with his next competition being the Baku Grand Slam in Azerbaijan on May 4-5th.