Folsom boy earns silver medal in judo Jr. Olympics

By: Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
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The 2011 Junior Olympic Judo National Championships took place over the weekend of July 22-24 in Irving, Texas. Curtis Booth, 13, of Folsom took second place in the 40-kilogram weight class to bring home a silver medal. Booth, an incoming eighth grader at Sutter Middle School, had recently completed a successful championship three-peat during the USA Judo Youth and Scholastics National Championships back in April in Grand Rapids, Mich. During the 10-participant tournament in Texas, Booth was victorious in his first two matches against a pair of competitors from Hawaii before suffering his first loss in his third match against Brian Abreu of Florida. Booth remained in the running for a gold medal, as it was a double elimination tournament. Booth rebounded from his third-round loss with an ippon victory over Leo Naumann of Oklahoma, pitting him in a rematch with Abreu in the gold medal finals. Booth put forth a worthy effort, but it was again Abreu who wound up in the winner’s circle, leaving Booth with a second-place finish. Since his April victories in Michigan, Booth had been training as a challenge to himself to compete in a higher weight class. At the USA Judo Nationals, he competed in the 36kg (79 pounds) division and at the Junior Olympics, he fought in the much bigger 40kg (88 pounds) division. “It was pretty tough going against those kids because they were all pretty big,” said Booth, who since turning 13 on May 30, began lifting weights and adhering to a strict nutritional diet to bump up weight classes. “It was fun to go against those kids of a much stronger caliber.” Booth had the goal of placing in the top five in the higher division, so when he made it to the finals, it was more than gratifying. “This was a tough division,” explained Curtis’ father Alan. “(Curtis) was giving up a tremendous amount of weight and the odds were definitely against him.”