October 28, 2012 Lommel, Belgium
George Truong’s ( Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, CO ) gold medal performance highlighted the final day of competition at the Flanders Cup in Lommel, Belgium. Truong went 7 – 0 to take first place in the Under 20 66kg division. He competed against some of Europe’s top juniors in a 28 man pool. George was fighting a weight division up from his normal 60kg. After winning a flag decision in his first match, Truong continued a steady march through the division. In the final, he scored a gorgeous lefty Morote Seoi Nage against his opponent from the Netherlands . ” I had a great day ! Coach Brett and I finally found our rhythm. I worked on some new things today and they actually worked. All in all I’m extremely pleased with my performance. ” said a triumphant Truong.
Equally impressive was the performance of his sister Annie ( Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs ). She competed in her first tournament since November, 2011 at the Junior World Championships. Her layoff was caused by shoulder surgery last December. She proved that she’s back better than ever by taking the silver medal in the Under 17 48kg division. Truong got off to a strong start by scoring a decisive victory in her first match. She scored a quick waza ari with a kouchi gari and finished her opponent from the Netherlands by pinning her for a second waza. She followed with a hard earned win over the reigning Dutch champion in her next match. Two more quick ippon victories put her in final against an opponent from the host country. Although she came out on the losing end of the match, it was a very successful weekend for Annie. ” I was a little nervous going into my first match, because I haven’t competed in so long. Once I got that first score, it was business as usual. It felt really good to get back on the mat. Although I came up a little short in the final, I’m excited looking towards the future. ” explained Truong. ” It was great to have Annie back on the mat. I know she’s been looking forward to this day since her surgery. It’s a testament to her dedication and desire that she was able to come back this strong. ” proclaimed Brett Wolf (Menomonee Judo Club – Paralympic National Training Site, Chicago, IL ), the head coach for Team USA at the event.
The other Team USA members fought extremely well on Sunday. Arthur Ghukasyan ( Glendale, CA ) went 2 – 2 and made it out of pool play in the U17 66kg division. He lost two extremely close matches, but showed great promise. Cole Freeman ( Fayetteville, North Carolina ) also had a very successful day. After losing his first match in the U17 60kg division, Cole scored two decisive ippons in pool play. Unfortunately, with the way the tournament is run, only one player made it out of Cole’s pool in the 45 man bracket. Although he wasn’t able to advance to the medal rounds, he proved that he’s an up and coming player. Grant Johnson ( Club Olympia Judo, Fond Du Lac, WI ) competed in a very deep 81kg division. He fought three tough matches and gained invaluable experience against quality, seasoned opposition.
For the weekend, the eight person U.S team won an extremely impressive 21 matches. Considering the level of competition, it was a very successful tournament. ” Lynn and I can’t say enough about this group of kids. They showed that not only can they compete against top level European competition, but win matches and medals. The future looks extremely bright for USA Judo. ” said a very proud Brett Wolf.
Flanders Cup – Sunday, October 28th, 2012 – Team USA:
1. George Truong – Under 20 – 66kg 7 wins, 0 loss = 1st place
2. Annie Truong – Under 17 – 48kg 4 wins, 1 loss = 2nd place
3. Arthur Ghukasyan – Under 17 – 66kg 2 wins, 2 losses = lost in the elimination round
4. Cole Freeman – Under 17 – 60kg 2 wins, 1 loss = eliminated in pool play
5. Grant Johnson – Under 20 – 81kg 0 wins, 3 losses = eliminated in pool play