Sunday, August 25th

Tokyo Time

By James O'Brien, reporting from Tokyo

Tokyo is a long way from New York City, no question about that. All the more so when you have a six hour flight delay in Mexico City; but that’s another story. This one is about the World Judo Championships and the seven NYAC athletes who qualified to make the trip, flying the flag for the USA and the winged foot for the NYAC.

Tokyo, of course, is presently in the athletic spotlight, and will be until July next year, when the Olympic Games get underway. In the months and years leading up to that momentous occasion, the Japanese capital has been and will be the host for all manner of top class events, events that also constitute a dry run for the biggest event of all. Just a couple of weeks prior to this tournament, the International Triathlon Federation held a test event here, just as it had done in Rio prior to the 2016 Games. The Tokyo Tri saw most of the world’s finest gather in this heaving metropolis, the results seeing Summer Rappaport secure selection for the US Olympic team, thus becoming the first NYAC athlete to do so.

The World Judo Championships is not a selection event for the Olympic Games, but its results most certainly count in the selection process. Thus, the Incredible NYAC Seven who have made it here to the Land of the Rising Sun are competing with no small degree of pressure, as if a World Championships, on its own, were not enough.

By name the eight are Adonis Diaz, Angelica Delgado, Alex Turner, Hannah Martin, Alisha Galles, Jack Hatton, and Colton Brown. You can find the pertinent details of each in the bios section of this micro-site. Suffiice it to say here, that there is medal potential among them. Who those medals may fall to is up to them.

Adonis Diaz (60kg) will not be one of them, sad to say, although he fought bravely in today’s opening bouts of the tournament. Following a first round bye, the NYAC man then came up against Diyorbek Urozboev from Uzbekistan. The experienced Uzbek was more than Diaz could handle, quickly gaining the upper hand and dealing a demonstrative and disappointing defeat. You can watch the bout by clicking here.

Diaz is a judoka of potential, though, and his Olympic dreams are far from over.

Another aiming for those lofty peaks is Angelica Delgado (52kg) who will take to the mats on Monday, which will actually be Sunday in New York….or the very early hours of Monday. The time difference and the lengthy journey to get here are all part of the experience and part of learning for the even bigger stage of Tokyo 2020. Much will be revealed when Delgado begins her bid for glory tomorrow.

As for me, I haven’t seen a proper bed since Thursday, and I am writing this on Sunday night. So, my Olympic dreams will soon be quite literally that. But check back again soon for more from the World Judo Championships. The action will be incessant and, fingers crossed, successful.
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