(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - After struggling on the first day of competition at the Junior World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, Team USA hopes to rebound on Friday when the men's 90 and 100kg and women's 57kg and 63kg divisions will be held.
Although each of the Americans will be competing at the Junior World Championships for the first time, three of the four are former Senior Nationals medalists.
Hana Carmichael (Wellington, Fla. / USA Judo National Team FORCE / Budokan Judo), who won bronze in the 57kg division at the Senior Nationals and placed second at the U.S. Open last month, opens with a first-round bye and a second round match against Nazgul Arystanbekova (KAZ). If Carmichael advances, she will fight the winner of a match between Xuan Yi Ang (SIN) and 2007 European Junior Champion Automne Pavia (FRA) for the ability to advance to the quarter-finals.
On the opposite side of the draw, Pool C is filled with interesting match-ups among top European juniors as Juul Franssen (NED) and Hedvig Karakas (HUN)'s second round fight will be a rematch of the 2008 European Junior finals where Franssen produced the win last month. The winner of that match could likely fight reigning European Junior bronze medalist Gemma Howell (GBR) who lost to Franssen at the 2007 European Juniors. Liudmyla Marchenko (UKR), the other 2008 European Junior bronze medalist, sits in the top half of the pool.
In the 63kg division, reigning Senior Nationals silver medalist Paola Genao-Butler (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) also has a first-round bye before a second round against Da-Woon Joung (KOR). A win by Genao-Butler would advance her to a third-round match against either Ni Kadek Anny Pandini (INA) or Nina Milosevic (SLO).
On the top of Genao-Butler's pool, watch for a potential quarter-final against Eszter Gaspar (HUN). Other players to watch include reigning Asian Junior Champion Yuki Kikukawa (JPN) and Antoinette Hennink (NED), the European Junior Champion whose win over Kikukawa during the finals of the St. Petersburg Tournament in Russia earlier this year was just one of three Junior A-Level gold medals during the past three seasons.
Steve Fayzakov (Fresh Meadows, N.Y. / NYAC / Spartak Sports Club) drew a first-round bye in the 90kg division and a second-round match against Han-Chieh Tseng (TPE).
Should Fayzakov win both of his opening matches, he would likely fight reigning Junior World Champion Marvin de La Croes (NED) in the quarter-finals. On the top half of the draw, Varlam Liparteliani (GEO) is favored to advance to the finals. Although only 18-years-old, Liparteliani won two senior World Cup tournaments this year in Moscow and Vienna and was a member of the Georgian team that recently won the World Team Championships.
After winning bronze at the 2007 Senior National Championships, Kyle Vashkulat (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) soon became the top-ranked 100kg junior in the United States, but he will be challenged in the first round by 2006 European Junior silver medalist Adam Juhasz (HUN). The winner of that match will fight either Temuulen Battulga (MGL) or reigning Asian Junior Champion Mojtaba Nikbin (IRI) to advance to the quarter-finals.
On the bottom half of the draw, players to watch include Katsuoki Terashima (JPN) and Lukas Krpalek (CZE), the 2008 European Junior Champion who won three junior A-Level tournaments this summer.