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11-Year-Old Somerset Girl Dominating Judo Scene

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(Photo from USA Judo/Facebook)

(Photo from USA Judo/Facebook)

SOMERSET, Mass. (AP) — Her coach says Dominique Domingo has the talent. He insists she has the desire and intelligence. He says it’s just a matter of time before she’s a major player in her sport of judo.

A seventh grader at Somerset Middle School, Domingo boasts a medal collection that would net her a small fortune at local scrap yards. She competes regionally, nationally and internationally.

In June, she returned home from the USA Judo Junior Olympic National Championships and International Championships in Irving, Texas, with a pair of gold medals. She is a two-time national champion. Visit usjudo.org and navigate around and you shouldn’t have too difficult a time finding information on Domingo’s accomplishments.

“First of all, being a national champion is a great thing in any sport,” said her coach, Serge Bouyssou, owner of Mayo Quanchi Judo in West Warwick, R.I, and a former coach of the U.S. Junior National Team. “She works her butt off. She’s self-motivated. She goes through a workout routine that most people would get halfway through and then be puking in the alley the next half hour.”

And Domingo, a five-year veteran of judo, does it all with a smile.

“There’s no complaining. What she goes through is not easy. Some adult competitors would have a difficult time with it,” Bouyssou says. “That’s what is going to separate her from the pack.”

Last spring, Domingo was part of a national team that competed in France where she helped the United States to a first place. Bouyssou says he’s not sure if the U.S. could have taken the gold without Domingo’s victories.

“She had clutch wins against really tough opponents,” he says. “That was a good chance to see how she performs under pressure.”

A month shy of her 12th birthday, Domingo is ranked first nationally for her age/weight (Intermediate 2, 47 kg). She just returned from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where she earned a silver medal at the Junior U.S. Open Judo Championships, a competition that included 90 clubs and competitors from 20 countries.

Her father, David, is a black belt, a former junior national champion, and an instructor at Bouyssou’s school.

Her success, says her coach, stems from several factors, not just her considerable athleticism. “She is ferocious,” says Bouyssou.

“But you need to have equal balance. She’s ferocious with intelligence. Judo is not a dumb-dumb sport. There are a lot of different ways to win in judo.”

Domingo uses all of them, and she keeps winning as she grows bigger and older. Bouyssou doesn’t hesitate to use the O word when talking about Domingo’s future in judo.

If she continues to progress as she has — and she appears to have the work ethic to do just that — Bouyssou says she could be among the country’s best as soon as 2016, with her window to excel at the Olympic level likely being for the 2020 and 2024 Summer Games.

“By 2020, Dominique will be ready,” he said. “She’s the real deal.”

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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