Montréal, February 15, 2014 – The Ontarian judoka Kelita Zupancic came away with a silver medal in the under 70 kg category, Saturday, at the European Cup presented in Rome, Italy.
After defeating the Italian Jennifer Pitzanti by ippon in her first match, Zupancic took down the Israeli Lior Wildikan with two yukos. The Canadian then made her way into the grand finale with a two-shido performance against the Japanese judoka Tomoe Ueno. In the gold medal bout, Zupancic would unfortunately succumb to defeat versus the Japanese Karen Nunira, falling by an ippon.
“It was a pretty good day. Gold would have been nice, but it just didn’t happen for me,” said the Canadian, who was a bit disappointed to have lost against Nunira, a judoka she’d never faced before in competition.
“I trained against this girl a lot during my year in Japan so we knew each other really well,” explained the No.2 ranked Ontarian. “Matches against Japanese judokas are always tough so my victory in the semifinals was very satisfying. In the final I think I just lost my patience; it was a long day.”
“I felt very relaxed, though,” she added. “I am getting ready for the competitions in June, so I want to get in as many matches as possible. I’ve been working hard on my training and new techniques, and it’s looking good. I feel like I’m in great shape, just increasing my judo and pace. I’m just looking to improve every day.”
Also in action in Rome, Catherine Roberge finished with a 5th place classification in the under 78 kg class. After being beaten in her first bout against the Japanese Mami Umeki, (who went on to win gold) the Quebecoise responded with a win by ippon against the Pole Katarzyna Furmanek in the repechage. In her next fight, Roberge fell to the Frenchwoman Géraldine Mentouopou, who won with a waza-ari.
In the under 57 kg division, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard finished in 9th place. After taking down the Italian Maria Centracchio by ippon in the first round, the Quebecoise lost her next bout by a penalty to the Taiwanese Chen Ling Lien, who went on to claim the bronze medal.
Meanwhile, in the men’s competition in Oberwart, Austria, many Canadians were plying their trade on the tatamis.
Patrick Gagné placed ninth in the under 66kg class. The Quebecer started well with a win by ippon over the Italian Diego Cressi, but was eliminated in his very next match against the Monégasque Cedric Bessi.
In the under 73 kg division, Arthur Margelidon and Alexis Morin-Martel also walked away with 9th place finishes. Margelidon survived a tough battle that went to overtime in his first bout versus the Japanese Keiichi Ota, only to lose his following contest against the Georgian Tamazi Kirakozashvili by a waza-ari. As for Morin-Martel, he started things off with a win by ippon over the Austrian Alexander Weichinger before falling at the hands of the eventual gold medal winner, the Japanese Takenori Nakamura.
In the same category, Étienne Briand lost in his very first bout by waza-ari to the Estonian Kunter Rothberg.
On Sunday, Kyle Reyes (-100 kg) and Antoine Valois-Fortier (-81 kg) will be the Canadian hopefuls in Oberwart.