Montréal, February 18, 2012 – Sergio Pessoa made quite the comeback, Saturday, at the Düsseldorf Grand Prix of Judo in Germany, registering a 5th place finish in the under 60 kg class, after an injury lay-off of more than seven months.
The Quebecer, ranked 30th in the world, celebrated his return in impressive fashion, scoring an ippon in his very first bout versus the Czech Pavel Petrikov, 45th.
“I got off to a really good start. I was a little stressed at first because it was my first bout in seven and a half months. That first victory gave me a lot of confidence,” explained Pessoa, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a training session in Brazil.
The Canadian judoka then went on to beat the Brazilian Felipe Kitadai, 15th in ranking, by yuko, before taking out the Finn Valtteri Jokien, 32nd in the world, by way of an ippon.
His run would come to an end against the South Korean Jin-Min Jang, 25th in the world, eliminating Pessoa with both a waza-ari and yuko.
“He was pretty unknown before this year, but he’s had some good results the past weekends. He finished third in both Paris and Austria. He’s a solidly skilled judoka,” Pessoa reiterated, in regards to the competition’s eventual gold medalist.
A step closer to London
Thanks to his performance, the 23-year-old athlete inched a bit closer to a berth in the upcoming London Games. His 5th place finish will garner him 40 points, boosting his overall ranking to 19th in the Olympic standings.
Keep in mind that the top 22 in the world, with a quota of one athlete per country, will qualify for the big show in 2012.
“I feel that with the points I’ve won today, I’m pretty much a shoe-in to be selected for the Olympic Games,” Pessoa affirmed.
The Quebecer Frazer Will, who’s battling Pessoa for the one available spot in the under 60 kg category, didn’t do himself any favors with a first round loss, Saturday, a result that will evidently not help his chances of qualifying.
Also in Düsseldorf, Joliane Melançon (-57 kg), Nicholas Tritton (-73 kg) and Sasha Mehmedovic (-66 kg) all won their first round fights but were unable to progress any further, while Michal Popiel (-66 kg) was beaten in his one and only bout.
Sunday will see in action Marylise Lévesque and Catherine Roberge, in the under 78 kg class, along with Kalem Kachur and Antoine Valois-Fortier, in the under 81 kg division.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada