Benjamin “Ben” Dyer won a gold medal in the 2019 USA Judo Junior Olympic National Championships on June 28.
Dyer, 15, is a sophomore at Paschal High School in Fort Worth. He said he practiced two to three times a day all year in preparation for the tournament.
“I worked hard up to this tournament all year,” Dyer said. “This is the biggest tournament of the year.”
In the tournament, which was held in Anaheim, CA, Dyer was competing against 30 different players in his division, Cadet 18U -66g. His father and coach, Tommy Dyer, said it’s the “strongest division in the country.”
Dyer had five matches, and in each of them he had an ippon, a move equivalent to a knockout in wrestling. In judo, it’s a powerful throw that slams an opponent back to the floor. His coach called it a dominant way to win.
“It was pretty incredible,” Coach Dyer said.
Each judo match typically lasts about four minutes and can have an unlimited overtime. However, Dyer only had one match that required an overtime, and it lasted about 10 seconds.
His father describes Dyer as a “young gun” because he is competing against older judokas, or judo players.
On June 30, Dyer competed in the international tournament. He made it to the semi-finals but decided to pull out of the tournament when he tweaked his knee.
“It all leads up to a lot of hard work over the years,” Coach Dyer said.
Dyer has been training in judo at the Fort Worth Judo Club since the age of four and began competing at the age of eight. In 2016, he represented the United States in the Junior Pan American Championships in the Dominican Republic in 2016. He is currently ranked number one in the U.S. in his division.
Dyer also participates in wrestling at his high school, which his coach described as good cross-training for judo.
“I always like competing, I’m good at it and mainly looking toward the Olympics,” Dyer said.
He’s aiming to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games, and to do so he has to be one of the top 32 players in the world, which is a difficult feat to accomplish. His more immediate goal is to play on a couple of World teams. Through this he would be able to compete internationally.
Dyer will play compete in his next judo tournament in 3 weeks in Florida.