Harrison wins silver in Brazil


RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Kayla Harrison, 20, added to her collection of international judo medals by winning silver Sunday at the Grand Slam Rio 2011 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Harrison, who is the reigning world judo champion in the women’s -78 kg weight division, trains with Team FORCE in Wakefield, Mass., and is originally from Middletown, Ohio. She entered the tournament ranked number three in the world.

She received a bye in the first round and faced Mirla Norbelto of Guatemala in the second round. Harrison quickly pinned her in their first exchange to win the match.

In the next round she fought Assunta Galleone of Italy. Harrison dominated the match and was leading by two penalties when Galleone was countered by Harrison’s powerful outside reaping throw to end the match. Galleone entered the tournament ranked 20th in the world.

In the semi-finals, Harrison faced a rival, the tough Lucie Louette of France. Louette entered the tournament ranked ninth in the world. Kayla led the match thanks to Louette’s penalties and was able to successfully execute a pin in the final minute to win the match.

In the final, hometown favorite Mayra Aguillar, ranked sixth in the world, took the fight to Harrison, coming out the victor over the American.

“I went into that last match a little too confident,” Harrison said. “She wanted to win Sunday and it showed.”

Harrison said that she’s upset she didn’t win the Grand Slam title, but is focused on the world championships later this year in Paris.

In July, Harrison will compete in two World Cup judo events – the U.S. World Cup event in Miami on July 1 and 2, and the World Cup Isla de Margarita in Venezuela the following weekend.