Montreal, May 3, 2015– The only Canadian in action on the tatami Sunday, the last day of the Zagreb Judo Grand Prix in Croatia, Ana Laura Portuondo Isasi finished just shy of the podium in fifth place in the Under 78kg class.
In the final for two bronze medals up for grabs, the judoka from La Prairie (Quebc) was defeated by seventh world-ranked athlete, Hungary’s Abigel Joo, who scored an ippon in the first minute of the bout.
“I thought Ana Laura would have beat the Hungarian – even if the latter was the favourite to win. Ana was surprised with a counter, and her adversary brought her to the ground. It’s not the type of result we want, but the positive is that these are great opportunities to learn,” commented Team Canada Coach Sasha Mehmedovic.
Early on Sunday, Portuondo Isasi bested Croatia’s Brigita Matic and France’s Madeleine Malonga, prior to herself being defeated by an ippon doled out by Poland’s Daria Pogorzelec (20th internationally) with only 22 seconds left on the clock.
Once in the repechage, the Quebec athlete won against Germany’s Maike Ziech with another ippon, which enabled Portuondo Isasi to access the bronze medal rounds.
“Ana (currently ranked 29th internationally) demonstrated her strength today – notably in the bout against the French judoka, who’s ranked ninth in the world. Ana is still young with a huge amount of potential, she gets better every year and already is able to beat some of the best senior-level athletes in the world. I think she’s got amazing results ahead of her,” continued Mehmedovic. Portuondo Isasi has already begun to impress, having earned a bronze medal at the World Junior Judo Championships last year.
“Ana Laura was so close to the podium today (Sunday). Even if she didn’t quite make it all the way there, today was a good day,” concluded Coach Mehmedovic.
Canadian judokas will return to the tatami next weekend in Baku, Azerbaijan, at the next stop of the Judo Grand Prix circuit.
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Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada