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Delpopolo Finishes 5th in Germany

February 24, 2014


Dusseldorf, Germany For the fourth consecutive year USA Judo Olympian Nick Delpopolo placed 5th at the prestigious Dusseldorf Grand Prix. This year Nick's performance bested all his previous ones as he had what many considered the toughest draw of the entire tournament.

Nick found himself in a first round match against current 66kg Olympic Champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili (GEO) who moved up to the 73kg division last September and was unseeded. Nick played a smart match against the Olympic Champ and defeated him by two penalties. Up next Nick crushed 3x Jr. European Champion Georgios Azoidis (GRE) throwing him with his trademark high flying Uchimata for waza ari before throwing him again with tai-otoshi for ippon. Nick moved into the quarter finals where he lost against 2010 World Champion Hiroyuki Akimoto (JPN). The Japanese was on brilliant form and threw everyone for Ippon on his way to going 6-0 and winning the Grand Prix title.

Delpopolo dropped into the repechage bracket where he found himself facing former world medalist Kiyoshi Uematsu (ESP) whom he had never beat before.  Nick turned the tables and secured his first victory over the experienced Spaniard defeating him by penalties. By defeating Uematsu, Nick advanced into the bronze medal match with current European Champion Rok Draksic (SLO). Draksic destroyed Nick at last years Dusseldorf Grand Prix and although Nick lost the match it was a very different tale with the two players being tied with less than a minute remaining in the fight. At that point Nick was indecisive when attempting to counter Draksic's attack and got turned over for a waza ari score which he was unable to get back.

Nick receives both World and U.S. ranking points for his 5th place and after the tournament he said "I am too disappointed for words and can't give much of a comment. I just want to thank everyone who supports me especially my sponsor, Alan Gebhart and also to Boris Pasternak who paid for my coach to fly to Germany and be able coach me."

Delpopolo is ending a 3 week stint in Europe and comes home having more than a dozen matches under his belt which began by him going 6-1 in Belgium to win a bronze medal in the 81kg division.

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Delpopolo vs Shavdatuashvili


Delpopolo VS Azoidis


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