NewsJack Yonezuka

Jack Yonezuka Keeps Paris in Sight with Top-32 Finish at Senior Worlds

by Nicole Jomantas

(Photo by IJF)

(Colorado Springs, CO) – Two-time Junior World medalist Jack Yonezuka (West Long Branch, NJ / NYAC / Cranford JKC) held onto his position among the top 17 on the filtered Olympic Ranking List after a top-32 result in the 73 kg division at the Senior World Championships in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

2024 Senior World Championships Live Stream and Results

Celebrating his 21st birthday on Monday, Yonezuka entered the tournament ranked No. 16 in the filtered rankings with the top 17 at the conclusion of the Olympic qualifying period securing automatic berths to the Paris Olympic Games.

Yonezuka and Valtteri Olin (FIN) fought through regulation and two minutes of Golden Score (sudden death overtime) before Yonezuka threw Olin for a waza-ari (half point) score with a ko uchi gari (small inner leg throw).

In the next round, Yonezuka drew four-time Grand Slam Champion Makhmadbek Makhmadbekov (AIN) and kept the match close before being pinned late in the third minute.

Yonezuka is expected to remain in the top 17 on the filtered Olympic Rankings List when the International Judo Federation releases the updated ORL after the conclusion of the Senior Worlds which serves as the final major Olympic qualifier.

With a top-17 finish, Yonezuka would follow in the footsteps of his father and coach, Nick Yonezuka (West Long Branch, NJ) who qualified for the 1980 Olympic Team at just 16 years old and his grandfather, two-time Olympic coach Yoshisada Yonezuka (Cranford, NJ).

Ari Berliner (Schenectady, NY / NYAC / Jason Morris Judo Center) and Mariah Holguin (San Antonio, TX / Universal Judo) were each eliminated in the opening round of the 66 kg and 57 kg divisions, respectively.

A 2022 Senior Pan Am-Oceania Championship bronze medalist, Berliner took on three-time Grand Slam medalist Obid Dzhebov (TJK) in the round of 64 and was thrown by waza-ari scores in both the second and third minutes.

Holguin, a two-time Senior Pan Am medalist, earned a bye into the round of 32, but was taken to the ground by 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Priscilla Gneto (FRA) who choked Holguin for the win.

Competition continues on Tuesday where Nick Yonezuka (West Long Branch, NJ / NYAC / Cranford JKC) and Kell Berliner (Schenectady, NY / Jason Morris Judo Center) will compete in the 81 kg division. Sara Golden (Crystal Lake, IL / USA Judo National Resident Training Center Team) and Hannah Martin (Burnt Hills, NY / NYAC) will each fight in the 63 kg division.

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

Men’s 66 kg
1. Ryoma Tanaka (JPN)
2. Takeshi Takeoka (JPN)
3. Luukas Saha (FIN)
3. Vazha Margvelashvili (GEO)
5. Nurali Emomali (TJK)
5. Matteo Piras (ITA)
7. Baul An (KOR)
7. Erkhembayar Battogtokh (MGL)

Also Competed: Ari Berliner (Schenectady, NY / NYAC / Jason Morris Judo Center), 0-1

Men’s 73 kg
1. Hidayat Heydarov (AZE)
2. Tatsuki Ishihara (JPN)
3. Ankhzaya Lavjargal (MGL)
3. Nils Stump (SUI)
5. Daniel Cargnin (BRA)
5. Igor Wandtke (GER)
7. Erdenebayar Batzaya (MGL)
7. Makhmadbek Makhmadbekov (AIN)

Also Competed: Jack Yonezuka (West Long Branch, NJ / NYAC / Cranford JKC), 1-1

Women’s 57 kg
1. Mimi Huh (KOR)
2. Christa Deguchi (CAN)
3. Jessica Klimkait (CAN)
3. Momo Tamaoki (JPN)
5. Timna Nelson Levy (ISR)
5. Enkhriilen Lkhagvatogoo (MGL)
7. Ichinkhorloo Munkhtseveg (MGL)
7. Uzbekistan (UZB)

Also Competed: Mariah Holguin (San Antonio, TX / Universal Judo), 0-1