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Ann takes fifth at the Ladies Belgium Open

For the full article and pictures from Belgium visit

Annie Shiraishi (Elk Grove, Calif. / East Bay Judo Institute) went 2-1 in her pool, defeating a British opponent by ippon in the first match of the 48kg division.  Shiraishi lost to a Japanese player by a yuko, but came back to throw a German with a drop seoi nagae (dropping shoulder throw) for ippon.

In the main draw, Shiraishi beat her first French opponent in Golden Score, but lost her next match against 2004 Paris Super World Cup medalist Emilie Lafont (FRA).  In the bronze medal match, Shiraishi fought 2006 Junior World medalist Shoho Ibe (JPN), but was pinned and placed fifth.

Sayaka Matsumoto (El Cerrito, Calif. / NYAC / East Bay Judo Institute) had the most difficult schedule of the day, fighting five matches in the 48kg division just to get out of her pool. 

Matsumoto pinned her French opponent in the first round, but lost to a German opponent in her next match by ippon.  In the third match, Matsumoto tied a player from the Netherlands.  In order to break a three-way tie in the pool, Matsumoto fought both the French and German players again, pinning each of them to advance to the main draw.

Unfortunately, Matsumoto’s first match in the draw pitted her against 2005 World Champion Yanet Bermoy (CUB) who defeated Matsumoto, but lost in the quarter-finals, eliminating Matsumoto. 

Matsumoto and Shiraishi were the only U.S. 48kg players to advance to the main draw as the other three athletes failed to advance.  Natalie Lafon (National City, Calif.) lost to a French player by a penalty and tied a German player.  Alexa Liddie (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) lost all three of her matches by ippon.  Liddie was pinned first by Japanese and German players and then thrown by a British player.  Veronica Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) who, like Liddie, is a top 44kg player, went 1-2 in her pool, but did not advance.