Team USA Qualifies Six Athletes for Judo World Masters
by Nicole Jomantas
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – At the conclusion of a year that included 12 events on the World Tour, six U.S. athletes have qualified to compete in the year’s final tournament – the Judo World Masters which will be held from Dec. 20-22 in Jerusalem, Israel.
The top 36 athletes in each Olympic weight division were selected to compete in the event which sits behind only the Olympic Games and World Championships in prestige.
The World Masters will serve as a key qualifier for the Paris Olympic Games with significant points on the line for athletes who place in the top 16 or higher.
Competition schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, Dec. 20
Men’s 60kg, 66kg
Women’s 48kg, 52kg, 57kg
Wednesday, Dec. 21
Men’s 73kg, 81kg
Women’s 63kg, 70kg
Thursday, Dec. 22
Men’s 90kg, 100kg, +100kg
Women’s 78kg, +78kg
The six-person allocation ties for the highest ever for the United States with a squad that includes one Olympian and five first-time World Masters competitors.
Two-time Olympian Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla. / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) competed at the 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021 Masters Championships and advanced to the top 16 at the 2021 event. Ranked No. 14 in the world at 52kg, Delgado earned three major medals this season, including silver at the Pan American Championships and bronze at the Hungary Grand Slam and Perth Grand Prix. Delgado is seeking to qualify for her third Olympic Team in Paris.
A top-16 finisher at the 2022 Senior World Championships, Katelyn Jarrell (East Greenwich, R.I. / NYAC / Mayo Quanchi) also will compete in the 52kg division in Jerusalem. The 2010 Youth Olympic Champion earned top-five finishes at both the Hungary Grand Slam and Senior Pan Ams this year as she climbed to No. 22 in the world rankings.
Less than a year after becoming eligible to compete for Team USA, Maria Laborde (Kenosha, Wis. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) has ascended to No. 21 in the 48kg standings after a season that included a bronze medal win at the Senior Pan Ams and gold at the Perth Grand Prix. The two-time Senior World medalist for Cuba also earned a top-16 finish at her first Senior Worlds since winning individual bronze in 2014.
Nineteen-year-old Christian Konoval (Rockport, Texas / NYAC / Becerra Judo) will be the youngest athlete in the men’s +100kg event and one of the few athletes in the tournament competing as a senior with junior eligibility still remaining. A bronze medalist at the Senior Pan Ams, Konoval is ranked 30th in the world after earning key qualifying points with fifth-place finishes at both the Portugal Grand Prix and Junior World Championships this season.
John Jayne (Chicago, Ill.) also had a breakthrough season, winning bronze in his Senior Pan Am debut and earning a top-seven finish at the Hungary Grand Slam to move up to No. 33 in the 90kg event.
One of the youngest athletes in the 57kg event, 22-year-old Mariah Holguin (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo) is ranked No. 33 in the world after standing on the podium twice this season at major events, winning bronze at both the Perth Grand Prix and Senior Pan Ams.
Team USA will be coached by 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Coach Jhonny Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center).