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Texas A&M Judo to host 2024 National College and High School Championships

Posted at 5:38 PM, Apr 04, 2024
  • Texas A&M Judo is set to host the 2024 National Collegiate Judo Association (NCJA) High school and College Championships this Saturday and Sunday.
  • A link to the weekend's events can be found here.

BROADCAST SCRIPT:

"I started when I was 5-years old — from there I just fell in love with the sport,” said Aggie Sophomore and Judo athlete, Paolo Maaskant.

 For 19-year-old Paolo Maaskant, learning the art of judo started with his older brother in the Netherlands.

"I always had a lot of energy at home, my parents just told me 'Go with him, go with your brother, please go to practice with him',” Maaskant said.
 
To this day, Paolo is still training with his older brother, but this time, it's on the collegiate level at Texas A&M.

While he is more skilled now, progress didn't come without growing pains.

Paolo says that last year, he wasn't where he wanted to be on at a competitive level.

"Last year I can kind of give myself some room of error, it was a new country, new style of Judo here in the U.S. — now I'm accustomed to the sport and can be the best version of myself,” Maaskant said.

Paolo told 15 ABC’s Chris Talley that he owes part of growth to his coach Bob Perez.

"He wants to win, and I think he will do great," said Perez, Texas A&M Judo Coach.

"He's taken a lot of leadership in running practices and he has a lot of knowledge."

 Paolo says he's ready to showcase his hard work this weekend at the 2024 National Collegiate Judo Association (NCJA) competition after placing fourth last year.

"I wish I would have had a medal, so that's definitely my goal this year — not just to medal, but I'm going for the gold,” Maaskant said.