Delpopolo's Coach: 'I am Pleased and Proud of Nick'
Nick Delpopolo, 23, of Westfield, finished 7th in the world in his first Olympic appearance.
THe following is a press release from Jason Morris Judo Center:
2007 Burnt Hills High School graduate, Nick Delpopolo (23) from the Jason Morris Judo Center placed seventh in the 73kg division at the XXX Olympiad in London. This was Delpopolo’s first appearance in the Olympic Games. Delpopolo had a first round bye then looked sharp throwing Chi Yip Cheung (Hong Kong) for ippon (full point) in his second round match.
In the of 16, Delpopolo squared off against #8 seed and former #2 ranked Dirk Van Tichlet (Belgium). Delpopolo scored yuko (partial point) early in the bout and dominated throughout holding on to get the victory. Van Tichlet won their only other previous meeting at the 2010 Miami World Cup. This set up a bout with World #1 and #1 seed Kin Chun Wang (Korea). Wang had defeated Delpopolo in their three prior matches, which were all close. This time would be no different as it turned out to be an 8 minute thriller that ended with no score and came down to a referee’s decision with all three judges voting for Wang.
Delpopolo then lost by the slimmest of margins to eventual bronze medalist, Nyam Ochir Sainjargal (Mongolia) 2 shidos to 1 (penalties).
The Jason Morris Judo Center (JMJC) continues to improve and it’s already one of the best developmental places to train in the country. It had one Olympian, Travis Stevens, in Beijing in 2008 along with the JMJC owner/operator, Jason Morris serve as the head coach and now has two Olympians, Delpopolo and Kyle Vashkulat, in London. Stevens made it again as well although he has moved on from the JMJC.
“I am both pleased and proud of Nick as he performed at the highest level today,” said Morris.
“The difference between Gold and seventh is so small and Nick put himself in a position today to challenge for an Olympic medal, which is amazing,” Morris continued.
Delpopolo’s performance comes on the 20thanniversary of his coach Morris winning a silver medal July 30, 1992 at the Barcelona Olympics. Delpopolo along with fellow Burnt Hills graduate Kyle Vashkulat have both been training at the JMJC for about 10 years. Vashkulat competes on Thursday, August 2, in the 100kg and faces Ramziddin Sayidov (UZB) who is seeded #4.