Montréal, September 12th, 2013 — Ontarian Kelita Zupancic, representing Team Canada at the Francophonie Games being presented in Nice, won the gold medal in the under 70 kg category. Five other Canadian judokas also came away with podium finishes, Thursday in France.
“I was the favourite to win and I did just that. Since the tournament is coming right after a World Championships, I was still in decent form and was equally well prepared,” said Zupancic, who’s currently ranked 2nd in the world.
After obtaining a bye into the second round, the Ontarian easily defeated her first two opponents, the Tunisian Nihe Bouchoucha and the Frenchwoman Lucie Perrot. “The first bout was a good warm-up for me. I then took on a pretty good judoka, but I was able to beat her quite easily,” she explained.
In the finals against the Belgian Lola Mansour, Zupancic was the better of the two in a contest that featured 7 penalties. Mansour would eventually be disqualified after receiving her fourth shido. “It wasn’t a good fight. There were a lot of questionable calls made by the referees, but I also made a few errors as well. In the end I still managed to come out on top, “Zupancic concluded.
Elsewhere, Antoine Valois-Fortier won a silver medal in the under 81 kg class. The Montrealer took out the first three judokas he faced by way of ippon, which included fellow Quebecer Louis Kreiber-Gagnon, who was competing for Team Quebec.
In the gold medal match, Valois-Fortier was caught off guard by the Lebanese Nassif Elias. “The bout lasted just 10 seconds. I had one moment of indecision that cost me the fight. We are on the edge of the tatami, I stopped a little too quickly and he threw me,” he explained. For sure, I’m a little disappointed. My goal was to leave Nice with a gold medal. Anyhow, I’m not going to make a big deal about it.”
As for Krieber-Gagnon, he finished the competition in 5th place.
On Team Quebec, Étienne Briand came away with the silver medal in the under 73 kg class. The Quebecer won his first three bouts to advance through to the finals. Briand would come up short in the gold medal tilt, losing by ippon to the Frenchman Jonathan Allardon.
Also in action, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (Team Canada) and Alix Renaud-Roy (Team Quebec) both walked away with bronze medals in their respective categories.
In her final contest in the under 57 kg class, Beauchemin-Pinard got the better of Stéfanie Tremblay (Team Quebec), scoring two waza-aris in the win. As for Renaud-Roy, a victory by ippon over the Tunisian Nihe Bouchoucha in the under 70 kg division was her ticket to the podium.
Alexis Morin-Martel (-73 kg) also claimed a bronze medal for Team Canada. In his final bout, the Quebecer came out on top against the Malian Seydou Traore, winning with two waza-aris.
Friday, Ana Laura Portuondo Isasi (- 78 kg) and Guillaume Perrault (- 90 kg) will be in action for Team Canada. Marc Deschesne (- 90 kg) will defend the colours of Team Quebec.