2008 SUMMER OLYMPICS: JUDO
Iolani's Taylor Takata won his first two judo matches before falling to Cuba's Yordanis Arencibia in the quarterfinals.
Hawaii’s Takata ninth in division in Olympic debut
After being focused on the Olympics for nearly eight years, it's time for judoka Taylor Takata to step off the mat and refocus on his education.
The 'Iolani graduate finished ninth in his Olympic debut in Beijing yesterday, losing in the quarterfinals, then in the repechage of the 66kg division at the Beijing University of Science and Technology Gymnasium.
Takata led his repechage match with Egypt's Amin El Hady, but was thrown for ippon (instant win) in the fourth minute.
"I'm pretty disappointed, but I thought I fought well for my first Olympic Games," Takata said. "I could've won that (repechage) match, but that's the way judo is. Sometimes you just get caught for a second and then it's over."
Still, Takata's finish is the best result in the first two days of competition at the Games for a U.S. judoka.
"It's been great to be here and experience the Olympics and fight the best guys in the world," Takata said. "Now I just want to take in as much as I can and enjoy being here."
After the Games, Takata plans to turn his focus toward finishing his education.
"I think I'm going to take it day by day, go back to Colorado and gather my thoughts," Takata said. "I took a year and a half off from school to train for the Olympics, so once I go back to Colorado I want to go back to school and finish things up."
Takata won his first two matches, both going to Golden Score (overtime). He threw four-time World Cup medalist Tariel Zintiridis of Greece with a kata guruma (fireman's carry) for a yuko (quarter-point) score and the win.
In the second match, Takata defeated seven-time World Cup medalist Dex Elmont of the Netherlands on a penalty.
In the quarterfinals, Takata fought well against Yordanis Arencibia of Cuba but couldn't seem to throw the four-time World and 2004 Olympic medalist. Takata picked up two penalties during the match, giving Arencibia the win.