Montreal, January 24, 2020 – Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg) and Kelita Zupancic (-70 kg) respectively won a silver and a bronze medal on Friday at the Tel-Aviv Grand Prix, in Israel.
“I’m very happy with my day overall. During this tour, my goal was to make it to the podium here, in Israel, to climb up the Olympic qualification ranking and gain some confidence before the Paris Grand Slam,” said Beauchemin-Pinard.
“I’m disappointed with my final. It had been a long time since the last time I had such a big day, and I was mentally drained.”
During the gold-medal contest against Australian Katharina Haecker, Beauchemin-Pinard was defeated by ippon in the first minute of the bout. “I had a hard time focusing to place my hands well,” said the silver medallist.
In the semi-final, the Longueuilloise won by ippons against Brazilian Alexia Castilhos. Her third bout of the day, against Venezuelan Anriquelis Barrios, was particularly challenging and went into overtime for over 2min30.
“(Against the Venezuelan) I controlled her sleeve, I blocked her attacks and I won, so I was really happy. With the Brazilian, I wanted to show her that I wanted to win again at the next Pan American Championships in April, like I did last year. I gave me a motivation boost.”
Kelita Zupancic was set to face German Miriam Butkereit in one of two bronze-medal bouts in -70 kg, but she won by default. Her opponent had been disqualified in the previous round.
“She did an arm lock while standing and was disqualified for unsportsmanlike behaviour. I’ll take it, but we all know there was no fight.”
After winning her first two bouts by ippon, the Ontarian lost by ippon against Worlds bronze-medallist British Sally Conway. Zupancic still had a chance to stand on the podium after eliminating Slovene Anka Pogacnik in repechage.
Conway went on to stand on top of the podium.
On the men’s side, Constantin Gabun (-73 kg) scored 1-1 after one victory against a Hong Kong representative and one loss against one from Kazakh.
Étienne Briand lost his one and only fight in the -81 kg category. He was defeated by Serbian Jovan Niskanovic.
On the previous day, Jacob Valois (-66 kg) had a record of 1-1. The Quebecois started his day off with a victory by ippon against Argentinian Tal Almog, but was then eliminated by waza-ari by Brazilian Daniel Cargnin, second on the seeding. Cargnin went on to win a bronze medal.
“It’s a short sequence that changes everything and he’s gaining experience! At that level, small mistakes make you lose. It was still a good day for Jacob. We would have liked to keep going, but he learned a lot. He’ll have to keep working!” said coach Jean-Pierre Cantin about his protege, who’s 18th on the world ranking, placing him in a good position for an Olympic qualification.
Zach Burt (-90 kg) and Kyle Reyes (-100 kg) will be the last two Canadians fighting on Saturday.