Montréal, February 8, 2014 — Alexis Morin-Martel and Arthur Margelidon both placed 9th in the prestigious Paris Grand Slam of Judo, Saturday, after each judoka was taken out in the round of 16 by the eventual bronze medalists in the under 73 kg category.
The 8th ranked Frenchman Ugo Legrand, vice-world champion and bronze medalist at the London Olympic Games, got the better of Morin-Martel (36th in the world), eliminating him from the competition.
The Quebecois was on the verge of winning the contest before being thrown to ground for a late waza-ari. “I was winning by three penalties to one. With just 12 seconds left he managed to throw me. I could have taken a penalty instead, but the referee was handing them out fairly easily so I decided to try to keep him at a distance by holding his sleeve. He still managed to throw me to ground.”
Even a few hours after the bout, the Quebecer was still a bit shaken up by the loss. “I had a great opportunity to beat a really good judoka. It was the highlight of my career up to now. I came so close, it’s pretty heartbreaking,” admitted Morin-Martel, who had previously beaten the Argentine Alejandro Clara by a waza-ari and the Armenian Razmik Yeghiazaryan with an ippon.
Obviously the fans were cheering on their hometown star Legrand, but this did not bother Morin-Martel, who used the crowd noise to take his game to another level. “In terms of ambiance alone, it’s a fantastic tournament!”
A silver medalist at the Visé Open last week in Belgium, his performance today gave him newfound confidence. “It made me realize that I have the ability to beat a world top-3 judoka. Mentally, I kind of feel like I can take on anyone right now.”
As for Arthur Margelidon, 61st in the international standings, he would succumb to defeat against the 7th ranked Emirati, Victor Scvortov, who won with an ippon.
After benefitting from a first round bye, the Quebecer won his first bout versus the Frenchman Arthur Clerget (220th), winning by an ippon.
In the under 66 kg class, Alister Ward also recorded a victory before being eliminated. The Quebecois took down the Frenchman Kilian Le Blouch before the Azerbaijani Nijat Shikhalizada put an end to his day.
On the women’s side, Ecaterina Guica (-52 kg) and Stéfanie Tremblay (-57 kg) both came away with a 1-1 record as well.
The Kosovar Majlinda Kelmendi, defending world champion and current No.1 in the under 52 kg division, eliminated Guica before going on to win in the gold medal match. In her first fight, the 47th ranked Quebecoise defeated the Brazilian Jessica Pereira. All her bouts ended by an ippon.
As for Tremblay, 31st in the world, she took down the Hong Konger Po Sum Leung before falling to the Brazilian Rafaela Silva (84th), who would eventually come away with one of the two bronze medals.
Still in the under 57 kg category, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, also from Québec, lost in her very first bout to the Frenchwoman Laetitia Blot.
Sunday, Monika Burgess (-70 kg), Catherine Roberge (-78 kg) and Kelita Zupancic (-70 kg) will all be in action, while on the men’s side, Kyle Reyes (-100 kg) et Antoine Valois-Fortier (-81 kg) will take to the tatamis at the prestigious Paris Grand Slam event.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada