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Delpopolo Heads to Paris
August 19, 2011
Wakefield, MA #1 ranked Judo player in the country, Nick Delpopolo, left his home in Wakefield today to compete in his second World Championships. The 22 year old, who is one of the youngest men on the team, directly qualified for his second World Team by his standings on the official World Ranking List where he is currently ranked 18th.
The 28th World Judo Championships is going to be held in the Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy, August 23rd-28th. Delpopolo last competed in this arena in February of this year where he placed 5th at the Paris Grand Slam recording an exciting victory over then ranked 12th in the World, Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal of Mongolia, before narrowly losing in overtime to then 5th ranked in the world Yashuhiro Awano (JPN).
This years tournament is of historical significance as it is also featuring a World Championships Team event that consists of 16 pre qualified teams who earned their spots at their Continental Championships in the Spring. Nick helped Team USA secure a silver medal at the 2011 Pan Am Championships Team event where he recorded 3 individual wins. The 5 man Teams consist of players in the 66, 73, 81, 90 and +90kg divisions. USA Judo’s men’s team qualified for the World Team Championships with their second place finish.
While competing in Tokyo in 2010, Delpopolo made a huge statement in his World Championships debut, where he went 3-1, finishing 9th out of 83 competitors. This years Worlds looks to be even more challenging as Delpopolo’s division has 101 participants pre registered, making it the biggest division in the history of World Judo Championships.
Nick was hampered most of the summer due to injuring his pectoral muscle while competing, but still managed to place 7th at the Moscow Grand Slam and El Salvador World Cup along with finishing 5th at the Venezuela World Cup, where he lost the closest possible semi final to former World medalist Krzystoff Wilkomirski of Poland by decision.
Nick returned to Boston to re-group before traveling to Montreal, Canada with Team USA for a pre Worlds training camp. Nick has since found his groove and had this to say of the up coming Worlds: “Despite my injury, I have done what I could and, I think I have as good a chance as anyone.”