Canada’s Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg) was awarded a bronze medal on Saturday at the Tashkent Grand Prix in Uzbekistan.
“When I saw my draw, I knew I had a chance to get onto the podium. I also knew it wouldn’t be easy since I’m still not very familiar with this category and I have to adapt my technique. I was lucky to have a coach with me, since I had expected to be alone. Andrzej Sadej was a huge help!” declared the 23-year-old who recently made the switch from the -57 kg weight class to the -63 kg category.
Beauchemin-Pinard defeated Turkey’s Busra Katipoglu by ippon in the bronze medal final. “I tried to stick to my game plan and I ended up doing a long floor sequence to get her into a hold. I’m very happy with my day!” she added.
According to coach Sadej, Beauchemin-Pinard’s excellent floor skills made all the difference. “She fought really well, and throughout the competition she adjusted her technique as needed in order to manage her toughest opponents.”
In the preliminary rounds, the Québécoise beat Poland’s Karolina Talach by ippon before bowing out to the eventual gold medal winner, Austria’s Kathrin Unterwurzacher, by waza-ari.
“I beat my Polish opponent through floor work and then I had to face the top seed, from Austria. I competed well but in one sequence she got me on the floor by waza-ari. I tried to get back up but it wasn’t enough.”
In the repechage, Beauchemin-Pinard dispatched of Kazakhstan’s Marian Urdabayeva by ippon. “That was another good fight for me. I used my grip to control her. I got her onto the floor for a waza-ari and I held onto my lead until I was able to score an ippon before regulation time ran out,” explained the Canadian judoka.
The silver medal went to Hannah Martin of the U.S.A. and the second bronze medal to Russia’s Ekaterina Valkova.
Fifth Place for Alicia Fiandor in Santo Domingo
Also on Saturday, Alicia Fiandor placed fifth in the -63 kg division at the Pan-American Open, being held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The British Columbian had a solid chance to make it onto the podium but was unable to get the best of Katherine Otano Pina, of the Dominican Republic, in the battle for bronze.
“It was a pretty even match but Alicia made a few Kumi Kata errors and false attacks that cost her the win,” stated Jean-Pierre Cantin, national team coach for Canada.
In the preliminaries, Fiandor lost by double waza-ari to Cergia David, of Honduras. She came back in the repechage to score an ippon against Ariela Sanchez, the host country’s representative.
Gueorgui Poklitar (-60 kg) was eliminated by his first opponent of the day, American Adonis Diaz, who won by waza-ari in overtime. “George put in a good performance. He lost because of a refereeing error in overtime in his match against the tournament favourite. Still, it was a good start for him in his new weight category,” noted Cantin.
Poklitar previously competed in the -66 kg class.
The Pan-American Open will continue on Sunday in Santo Domingo. Canadians Danil Neyolov (-81 kg) and Mohab el Nahas (-90 kg) will be the ones to watch.