Angelica Delgado Earns Top-16 Result at Senior Worlds to Climb the Olympic Rankings

by Nicole Jomantas

(Photo by IJF)

(Colorado Springs, CO) – Two-time Olympian Angelica Delgado (Miami, FL / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) knew the stakes for Olympic qualification were high coming into the Senior World Championships in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

2024 Senior World Championships Live Stream and Results

Delgado came into the event ranked No. 19 on the filtered Olympic Ranking List in the 52 kg division with the top 17 athletes at the end of the qualification period punching their ticket as automatic qualifiers to Paris.

While Delgado was expected to receive one of the 21 Continental Quotas allocated to the Pan American region, a position in the top 17 would likely allow one of her U.S. teammates to earn the sole potential continental slot allowed for each nation.

However, she would need at least a top-32 result and likely a top-16 finish to move up in the rankings.

Delgado opened with a round of 64 match against Alexandra Kaleta (POL) – a 2021 Antalya Grand Slam medalist who started the Senior Worlds ranked just behind Delgado in 20th.

Although Kaleta scored first, throwing Delgado for a waza-ari (half point) in the opening minute, the American pushed through, throwing Kaleta for waza-aris in both the second and third minute to take the match.

In the round of 32, Delgado threw Djamila Silva (CPV) for a waza-ari with a tomoe nage (sacrifice circular throw) in the second minute and pinned Silva to close the match in the third.

Delgado’s round of 16 would be a rematch of her Senior Pan American final against Larissa Pimenta (BRA) – one of the top 10 52 kg athletes in the world and a five-time Grand Slam medalist. The two are familiar opponents having faced off in four Senior Pan Am Championship finals with Pimenta winning their last match in April on penalties in Golden Score (sudden death overtime). Delgado held Pimenta scoreless for nearly seven minutes, but ultimately the Brazilian won the match on penalties and went on to earn her second career top-seven finish at the Senior Worlds.

The International Judo Federation will release the updated Olympic Rankings List after the conclusion of the Senior World Championships; however, Delgado’s result is expected to move her into a top 17 position after the final major tournament of the Olympic qualifying period.

Two-time Senior World medalist Maria Laborde (Kenosha, WI / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) came into the Senior Worlds as the No. 10 seed in the 48 kg event, but only the top eight earn seedings in the draw while the rest earn random assignments. Laborde controlled her round of 64 match from the start, throwing Signoline Kanyamuneza (BDI) with a seoi nage (shoulder throw) for a waza-ari during the first exchange and scored another waza-ari with an o uchi gari (inner leg throw) in the second minute.

The round of 32 would pit Laborde against No. 5 seed Baasankhuu Bavuudorj (MGL) – the 2022 Masters World bronze medalist who would go on to win her first Senior World title in Abu Dhabi. Laborde was the only athlete of the day who the Mongolian was unable to score on, but a trio of penalties cost her the match.

Despite the loss, Laborde is expected to remain securely in the top 17 on the Olympic Ranking List where she was 10th on the filtered list going in.

The No. 3 junior in the world at 60 kg, 18-year-old Christopher Velazco (Coral Springs, FL / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) has only competed on the Senior World Tour once prior to Senior Worlds, but came away from Abu Dhabi with a top-32 result.

Velazco went into Golden Score for both of his first two matches, defeating Abdulrahman Alsaiari (KSA) on penalties in the round of 64, but losing to 2023 Junior World bronze medalist Youssry Sami (EGY) on penalties in the 32.

Just three weeks after winning silver at the Senior Pan Am-Oceania Championships, David Terao (Fairfax, VA) made his Senior World debut, but fell short of advancing out of the 32 when he lost to 2021 Junior World medalist Turan Bayramov (AZE) on penalties.

Competition continues on Monday with Ari Berliner (Schenectady, NY / NYAC / Jason Morris Judo Center / 66 kg), Mariah Holguin (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo / 57 kg) and Jack Yonezuka (West Long Branch, NJ / NYAC / Cranford JKC / 73 kg) competing for Team USA.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Men’s 60 kg
1. Giorgi Sardalashvili (GEO)
2. Yung Wei Yang (TPE)
3. Taiki Nakamura (JPN)
3. Harim Lee (KOR)
5. Yeldos Smetov (KAZ)
5. Ayub Bliev (AIN)
7. Romain Valadier Picard (FRA)
7. Turan Bayramov (AZE)

Also Competed: Chris Velazco (Coral Springs, FL / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center), 1-1
David Terao (Fairfax, VA), 0-1

Women’s 48 kg
1. Baasankhuu Bavuudorj (MGL)
2. Assunta Scutto (ITA)
3. Abiba Abuzhakynova (KAZ)
3. Tara Babulfath (SWE)
5. Tugce Beder (TUR)
5. Catarina Costa (POR)
7. Narantsetseg Ganbaatar (MGL)
7. Natasha Ferreira (BRA)

Also Competed: Maria Laborde (Kenosha, WI / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center), 1-1

Women’s 52 kg
1. Odette Giuffrida (ITA)
2. Diyora Keldiyorova (UZB)
3. Amandine Buchard (FRA)
3. Mascha Ballhaus (GER)
5. Reka Pupp (HUN)
5. Hibiki Shiraishi (JPN)
7. Binta Ndiaye (SUI)
7. Larissa Pimenta (BRA)

Also Competed: Angelica Delgado (Miami, FL / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center), 2-1