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Delpopolo Wins Bronze in Belgium
February 3, 2014
Vise, Belgium 24 year old USA Judo Olympian Nick Delpopolo competed up a weight category at 81kg (178lbs) in Belgium over the weekend at the Belgium Mens Judo Open. Delpopolo who is ranked #10 in the World at 73kg (161lbs) was using Belgium as a warm up event. Although historically known as a very deep event, with some categories having almost one hundred competitors, since it isn't worth any world ranking points his coaches told him to bump up to 81kg and try to get some hard matches in. Nick did just that going 6-1 on the day making it all the way to the semi finals in an 80 man division before losing to a tall Frenchman two penalties to one. Nick bounced back nicely in his bronze medal match defeating hometown favorite Bottieau for the podium spot. Along with the Belgian Nick also defeated players from Finland, Ukraine, Denmark and 2 Dutch players. Among Nick's victories was a come from behind win in the round of 16 where he found himself down by waza ari and then went on to score two waza ari's of his own including a spectacular backsweep that drew a big round of applause from the crowd.
Although the Belgian Open isn't worth any world ranking points it is still worth domestic points and Nick's result will now make him the #3 ranked 81kg competitor in the United States on top of being ranked #1 in his normal 73kg division.
Nick had these comments after his day, "I had a lot of fun competing today and I felt no pressure and that I could really open up and work on new throws which I was able to do. I have never competed internationally at 81 kilos so I will say that even though its not gold, after 7 hard matches I am pretty satisfied with my bronze medal." Nick continued saying "I would like to thank my premiere sponsor, Gebhart properties for sending me to Belgium with specific instructions to "bring home some hardware!" I would say mission accomplished! Also I would like to say thank you to my coaches at Budokan Judo Club and my personal trainer Jesus Gallo. Lastly thanks to my sponsors at Fighting Films they are the most popular company on the World Tour and I'm a proud member of Team Superstar!"
Nick moves on to Spa, Belgium to meet up with the rest of Team USA and attend a two-a-day training camp in preparation for the Paris Grand Slam where he will coincidentally be competing (in his normal 73kg division) on his birthday Saturday, February 8th. Nick will be attempting to win his first medal in Paris after 5th place finishes in 2011 and 2012.