Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Welcome to Miami

So Miami World Cup is one of the world cups I was looking forward to competing at this year, not because it was in Miami, although that is an added bonus - but because its somewhat close to home and that means the rest of the world has to travel to get there - not only us. A lot of the europeans are not used to travelling long distances for world cup events and are not used to getting used to the time change - like we always have to do when we go to europe.

This year we had to fly straight from Brazil to Miami for this world cup but it was only a 1hr time change which didnt really effect me at all. Last year at this event I took Gold and was hoping to do the same but I made a little mistake in the quarter final which changed the plans of owning the podium to hopefully getting on the podium.

The day started off normal - I woke up at 6am for unofficial weigh in, which is basically just to make sure that your on weight and that you dont have to go for a run or anything to lose .1kg or something. My weight has been great as of late so I actually weighed in like 1kg under 73kg which is fine, it just meant that I could eat more leading up to the event. In the first round I had a bye because the guy I was suppose to fight from Chile did not make weight, so it gave me a little more rest and time to warm up before my day started - now I just had to wait and see who I would fight in the 2nd round, which ended up being Bosnia. Normally Bosnia does not have so many good fighters but in the case of the 73kg player it is actually quite the opposite - I think he is probably one of strongest physically in the world for 73kg.

During the fight I received two shidos and that meant I was down by a yuko score with 2min30sec remaining in the match. In my head my game plan was not working so I decided that I had to just kept coming forward until he was unable to keep the pace that I had set - finally with only 10sec left in the fight he was too exhausted to stop my attack and I threw him for ippon. It is not normally the way you want to win but it sure does feel good when you come from behind to win a match with no time left on the clock. With that win I was now into the quarter final where I was matched up against the Slovenian player who used to be one of the best in the world but has just recently started to come back onto the scene to qualify for 2012 - in my 2nd match everything was going fine until I made a very costly mistake and got caught on the ground. I only managed to get out after 22sec which meant he had a very strong lead and I was unable to come back from that to win the match. After loosing that match I was going to be only able to take a bronze medal home at best.

In my 4th match of the day (semi final to bronze) I had the romanian player who had just taken 3rd at the grand slam RIO, he is a very good player and a very tough match up for anyone. The match started off slow for me and I found myself down again by 2 shidos but as I did in my 2nd match I kept coming forward and with about 2min left I could tell he was starting to get tired and I knew it was just a matter of time before he made a mistake that I could capitalize on. Shortly after that(just as I was hoping) the romanian made a mistake and I counted his attack for a wazari score and took the lead. From that point on it was just a matter of playing it smart. I could not take another penalty or else the match would be tied so I continued to look busy and I actually finished the match by throwing him with about 15sec left on the clock. With the way judo has been changing over the last couple of years - cardio is becoming more and more crucial to win events and today it was no different, I kept to my game plan, pushed the pace and eventually the people who I was fighting either made a mistake because they were too tired or just gave up because they could not keep the pace I set.

My 5th match of the day was the bronze medal final. For my Bronze final it did not get any easier, I was matched up against the former world bronze medalist and european medalist from Spain who in my opinion is one of the toughest 73kg players. With 73kg for this world cup being stacked I was expecting a tough draw anyway I looked at it, so it was no surprise when I saw that he had won his way back to the bronze final as well.

So for my bronze medal match I ended up winning by 3shidos, the match was not overly exciting, it was mostly a gripping match that went back an forth, but that was my game plan going in so it was a great win and another world cup medal. During the fight I knew that if I stayed aggressive I could win the fight. The spanish guys style is very upright and more japanese style, so if I relaxed too much it would give him to many chances to score. Overall the tournament was a success - I ended up on the podium and it was my first world cup medal of the year!

Next week we are heading over to Venezuela for the world cup there so I will keep you updated. As for my personal life - well I dont have one haha. No no things back home are going great, Emma(my daughter) is doing good - growing up fast, missing her and my family a lot! Well thanks for reading - leave some comments if you want!

1 comment:

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Congratulations on the medal. It's nice to see an athlete writing about the importance of conditioning. Yes, technique is important but if you have no strength left to execute that technique, you're screwed.

It's tough being away from home competing when you have a little one. My baby learned to walk when I was at the Panamerican Games. She grew up to be a sports writer for ESPN , so I don't think it damaged her too much.