Montréal, May 10, 2014 – Since winning a bronze medal at the London Olympic Games, Antoine Valois-Fortier has been seeking to better that performance, and is satisfied by little else. It’s not surprising then, that the 3rd place finish obtained by the Quebecois judoka at the Baku Grand Slam in Azerbaijan has left him wanting more.
“I’m happy with my result but there’s a few things I need to fix. You could say that this bronze medal leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth,” pointed out Valois-Fortier, who was competing in the under 81 kg class.
Fighting in one of the two bouts for a bronze medal, the Quebecer came out on top versus the Uzbek Yakhyo Imamov. “He’s a really good judoka, ranked 10th in the world, but I’ve beaten him several times now. The match came down to penalties. It was an extremely tactical fight.”
Valois-Fortier actually won the bout by ippon, but only due to an accumulation of penalties. Despite taking three shidos of his own, his opponent Imamov was penalized four times by the judges. “I kept a high pace all match long and was definitely the more aggressive judoka in the fight.”
In the end though, the 24-year-old Quebecer seemed unsatisfied by his day’s work, especially after coming up short in the semifinals where he lost by a waza-ari to the 51st ranked judoka, the Russian Alan Khubetsov.
Trailing by a penalty for much of the match, he managed to tie things up with a minute and a half left in regulation time. “I was really starting to take control. I guess I may have gotten too excited. I attacked and he countered me for the win. I’m pretty disappointed with the loss.”
Khubetsov went on to win the grand finale, beating the 48th ranked Georgian Ushangi Margiani.
First wins against two rivals
Exempted from the first round, Valois-Fortier went on to beat the Azerbaijani Rustam Alimli and the Georgian Zebeda Rekhviashvili by ippon.
“My first two bouts were against guys that I lost to last season and that I’ve never beaten in my career. I think those wins were some of the positives I can take away from today.”
Going in as the favorite of a Grand Slam for the first time in his life, the 8th ranked judoka in the under 81 kg category didn’t feel any extra pressure. “I didn’t do anything differently to prepare. I came here with the mindset that I would try my best and the result would be a product of that.”
His next competition will be at the Havana Grand Prix in Cuba at the beginning of June.
David Ancor in London
Meanwhile, at the European Cup of London, David Ancor came away with a 5th place finish in the under 73 kg division.
The Ontarian forced three penalties out of the Frenchman Ludovic Cavallera in their bronze medal bout, but the latter also managed to score two yukos to win the contest.
Ancor had previously reached the semifinals, where he lost by an ippon to the eventual champion of the competition, the Russian Nikita Khomentovsky.
After benefitting from a bye into the second round, he won his first three bouts by way of ippon, defeating the Brit George Cullum, the Frenchman Arthur Clerget and the Dutchman in successive fashion.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada