February 12, 2012 - Team USA's Kayla Harrison swept through the brackets today to take gold at the World Cup Budapest.
Harrison, 78kg (NYAC/Team FORCE, Wakefield, Mass) won five matches to take the top spot on the podium. "I'm pleased with my results today, considering I am not at top level right now."
Harrison said she was particularly happy with her
performance in the semi-finals against Japan's Tomomi Okamura. "I fought
back and never gave up. I didn't allow myself to get frustrated wich is
something I've been working on controlling for quite some time. I feel
as if I've made a lot of progress already in this European tour. I'm
looking forward to the last leg in Germany."
Harrison faced a young lefty currently ranked number 1
in Britain in the first match, Natalie Powell. "I was able to catch her
for ippon with ogoshi in the first minute."
In her second match, the clock went the full distance
with Harrison forcing two penalties to win with smart gripping before
catching Jie Zhang of China with ko-uchi for yuko.
That put Harrison in the quarterfinals against Poland's
Katarzyna Furmanek. Harrison said she capitalized on a bad attack in
newaza, choking her for ippon in 29 seconds.
In the semi-finals against Japan's Okamura, Harrison was
caught for wazari in the first minute and then "had to fight like hell
to get it back," she said. Harrison ended up throwing Okamura with
ogoshi for wazari and then ko uchi for yuko to seal the match.
Harrison stepped into another tough match in the finals
against Russian Vera Moskulyuk. "She's a very tall righty" and it was an
awkward fight, Harrison said. She eventually caught her with ouchi gare
for yuko and held the lead by outgripping Moskulyuk to win the
Harrison had a final comment on the day. "I'd really
like to thank my teammates on this trip. I was able to focus on what I
do best because of how awesome they are!" The team was led by Jim Pedro,
Sr., who coaches at Team FORCE with his son, Jimmy Pedro, two-time
bronze Olympic Medalist and head coach of the U.S. Olympic Judo Team.
( via USJudo.org)