Montreal, June 12, 2016 – Canadian judoka Kelita Zupancic stepped up onto the highest step of the podium at the European Cup in Celje, Slovenia, after logging a perfect record in the Under 70 kg competition.
The Whitby athlete was the only woman fighting for Canada on the last day of the competition. She dished out ippons to Danish Emilie Sook and German Jenny Werner in the preliminary rounds, and also to Russian Ekaterina Tokareva in the semi-finals.
In the final match, Zupancic beat British Katiejemima Yeatsbrown with two yukos. “She was on point the entire day,” said national coach Sasha Mehmedovic. “She controlled all her matches tactically and physically, which led to a gold medal performance.”
Rio Shaping Up Nicely for Margelidon
On the men’s side, there were three Canadians competing in the Under 81 kg class. Montrealer Arthur Margelidon finished the competition in fifth place, after a day marked by uneven results.
After a bye from the opening round, he won his first three matches: the first one by three penalties, against Czech Radek Vonaka, the second one by ippon, against Dutch Jan Reijntjens, and the third one by yuko, against another Dutch, Jesper Smink.
He had the wind blown out of his sails in the semi-finals, when Hungary’s Milan Koller got him to take two penalties and lose the match. In the fight for the bronze, Margelidon took three penalties against his opponent’s two, and Polish Karol Kurje walked away with the medal.
“Arthur fought one weight class up and managed to get into the medal round,” analyzed Mahmedovic. “He was not far off the podium. He had a solid performance.”
Margelidon, on the other hand, wasn’t perfectly satisfied with his day on the mat, and believes he could have made it to the podium. “I lost my last two fights because of penalties. The ref has the last word, of course, but I think some decisions were a bit contentious.”
The 22-year-old was nevertheless happy with his fighting in the new weight class. He’ll be back in the Under 73 kg at the Rio Games.
“There are a few final adjustments to do before Rio, and I have camp for two weeks in Europe before I go back to Canada,” added Margelidon. “We’ll be doing all the fine tuning before I leave for the Games, so I can be at the top of my game!”
Étienne Briand, from Sept-Îles, had a day of ups and downs to end the competition in ninth place. He started out with an ippon victory over Croatia’s Mislav Ljubenkov, but lost his following match, with three penalties against two, to Turkish Ilker Gulduren. In repechage, he meted out another ippon, this time against Serbian Stefan Majdov, but went on to finish the day with a defeat, after Polish Karol Kurzej got him to take two penalties.
Antoine Valois-Fortier also started out the day with a bye from the first round in his last competition before Rio. Unfortunately, the Beauport athlete didn’t get past his first opponent of the day, Czech Ivan Petr.
“Antoine did not have the day he expected,” said the coach. “He got surprised and caught for waza-ari in the beginning of the match and couldn’t catch up. He forced his opponent to take three penalties but it just wasn’t enough.”
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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