Montreal, January 12, 2020 – Several athletes representing Canada at the IBSA Pan American Championships stood on the podium in front of a home crowd on Sunday at the Pierre-Charbonneau Centre. The event was presented in conjunction with the Senior Elite National Championships.
Priscilla Gagné, fighting in -52 kg, is no stranger to the podium. She has been a regular face on international podiums for the last few years and kept her winning streak going in Montreal. After getting a bye through the first round, Gagné defeated Brazilian Maria Lins by ippon in golden score and Karla Cardoso, also from Brazil, in just over a minute in the finale. “I felt very prepared mentally today, and 90% of the fight is about mental preparation, so I feel like if that’s ready, everything is fine. My coach gave me great advice and I stuck to the plan,” she said. “I feel very lucky and thankful for the opportunity to have a competition of this level at home. I’ve been preparing for a long time for this, and I was very excited to fight at home in front of my family and friends. It was a great day and I’m ready for the rest of the season.” Also fighting in -52 kg, Christina Mowatt, a newcomer on the international scene, was able to grab a bronze medal with a score of 1-1. Michelle Jorgensen (-70 kg) was also standing on top of the podium in her category. She scored 2-1 against her opponent, Mariana Mederos, from Brazil.
On the men’s side, Justin Karn was ready to come back strong after a difficult year last season. “I had a lot of personal issues going on and it affected negatively my performance last year. Today (Sunday) was my best performance in a long time, I’m more than happy with this result,” he said about his bronze-medal performance in -60 kg. After getting a bye through the first round, Karn was defeated by Henry Borges, from Uruguay, in the second round. He bounced back in repechage, where he won against Mexican Bryan Gerardo Aburto to win a spot on the podium. “I’ve been preparing for this for a while. I felt very strong, and I’m feeling confident for the next tournaments. I know what to work on to beat Borges next time and I know I can build on today’s result, so I’ll be ready,” he added. Stéphane Gignac, fighting in -90 kg, didn’t get a ranking.
“There were a lot of newcomers and we had some unexpected results, so it’s very promising and encouraging for Paralympic judo in Canada,” commented Andrzej Sadej, national parajudo coach for Judo Canada. “Our new athletes performed very well, and our veterans, Priscilla and Justin, had a great day. Last year was hard on Justin, his performance level was declining, but today he showed he was ready to climb back up. Priscilla is very high on the world ranking right now, which is exactly where we want her to be so she can be in a good position for Tokyo. The Paralympic program is growing, so hopefully we can get other elite athletes performing at that level in the next few years.”
Complete results for the IBSA Pan American Championships are available at https://judocanada.live/results/IBSA2020/.
Written by Sarah Mailhot for Judo Canada