Montreal, September 3, 2017 – The bronze medal remained out of Canada’s reach on Sunday at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. The maple leaf nation’s judokas bowed out to the South Koreans 5-1 in the mixed teams competition.
“It’s a new team competition format that will be used at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. We’re in the learning phase. What we do know is that there are not many countries that have strong teams on both the male and female sides. Given our strong male-female balance, we were able to advance with a good draw,” noted Nicolas Gill, Chief Executive Officer of Judo Canada.
Canada dispatched of Romania in the preliminary round with a total of four wins to two. However, things did not go quite as smoothly in the quarter-final, where Canada’s judokas lost 5-1 to Brazil.
“Jessica Klimkait (U57 kg) beat reigning Olympic champion Rafaela Silva, which gave us a good start. But the next two matches were really tight and we weren’t able to get the upper hand,” added Gill.
In the repechage, Canada ousted Georgia 4-2. “They have an extremely strong men’s team but their women’s team is much weaker. We had no choice but to win all three women’s matches,” explained Gill. “Arthur Margelidon (U73 kg) gave us a fourth victory, which allowed us to advance to the fight for bronze.”
The Canadians’ final face-off of the day was against South Korea. “South Korea is a judo powerhouse so this was a big challenge for us. Klimkait won the first bout, but things went downhill from there. We knew we didn’t have much of a margin for error. We thought Kelita Zupancic (U70 kg) had a good chance but she was defeated within the first two minutes.”
The gold medal went to Japan and the silver to Brazil. The second bronze medal was awarded to France.
Canada’s other representatives in Sunday’s team events were Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (U57 kg), Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi (+70 kg), Antoine Bouchard (U73 kg), Zachary Burt (U90 kg), Louis Krieber-Gagnon (U90 kg) and Kyle Reyes (+90 kg).
The World Championships marked the end of the 2016-2017 season. Nicolas Gill gives the season a positive review.
“In general, it went very well. Antoine Valois-Fortier and Kyle Reyes both had surgery after the Olympics, so we knew that their prep time for the World Championships would be relatively short. We have some young judokas who really stood out, like Jessica Klimkait. When she arrived here she was ranked eighth in the world. With a little luck, she might have had a chance at an individual medal. She proved that in the team competition, where she won all her bouts, including the one against the Olympic champion. It bodes well for the future,” concluded Gill.
He explained that some of the athletes will change weight categories in the next few months in preparation for the Olympic qualifiers, which will be begin in May 2018.