Montreal, March 17, 2013 – Canadian judokas Sarah-Myriam Mazouz (Under 70 kg) and Scott McGrandle (Under 81 kg) both turned in fifth place performances in their respective categories, Sunday at the Montevideo Panamerican Open in Uruguay.
Mazouz, who competes in the Under 70kg category, stepped onto the tatami with new-found aplomb this weekend, “Generally when I’m in international competitions I lack confidence and have a more defensive judo style. This time I said to myself I have nothing to lose.”
That poise paid off when Mazouz – ranked 65th internationally – won her first match against American Kathleen Sell (ranked 45th) with an Ippon after just over a minute of combat. “From the moment I said to myself, that’s it, I’m going for it, things went well. Sell has has beaten me before, so I was happy to get a rematch today,” she commented.
Mazouz continued to climb to the semi-final, and faced Colombia’s Yuri Alvear, former World Champion in 2009, presently ranked 12th. After a waza-ari was scored by Alvear at the beginning of the match, Mazouz was finally bettered by an Ippon just under the two-minute mark. “I moved around a lot, because Alvear is very physically strong and counter-attacks quite frequently. I’ll need more confidence the next time to better complete my own attacks,” analyzed Mazouz.
In the bronze medal round, the Canadian judoka met with Porto Rico’s Maria Perez (34th according to IJF); Perez dolled out a final Ippon that ended Mazouz’s day. “She (Perez) really uses her competitor’s strengths against them, and she’s really fast. When I was setting up my attacks, she was using that time to counter them. The next time I’ll have to beat her by getting her when her guard is down.”
In men’s competitions, Scott McGrandle, currently 118th in the Under 81 kg class, also came away with a fifth place finish.
After a bout against Argentina’s Ivan Duarte in the first round, the British Columbia native was defeated by decision by American Travis Stevens – 11th internationally.
In overtime, McGrandle bettered American judoka Anthony Sangimino (92nd ranked) with an Ippon. In the bronze medal round, McGrandle was beaten by Brazil’s Felipe Costa (58th according to the IJF), who scored a yuko and waza-ari.
Six Medals for Canada in Portugal
Team Canada had a shining day at the European Junior Cup in Coimbra, Portugal, with six Canadians stepping onto the podium. Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi lead the charge with a gold medal in the Under 78 kg weight class; the Quebec native was unbeatable in her three bouts.
“I won the bronze medal at this tournament last year, this year I simply wanted to do better, so I’m thrilled to have won gold!” Portuondo-Isasi enthused.
Portuondo-Isasi first took on and bettered Italy’s Valeria Ferrari and Chiara Meucci to gain access to the final – against Spain’s Silvia Garcia Aguilar. “The last bout was a little more challenging,” commented the 18 year-old judoka, who won with a waza-ari. “I think I was able to impress them because I was very mobile, generally speaking I tend to stay still. I had good fitness and that played in my favour because I was able to tire my competitor out.”
Though she won gold, Portuondo-Isasi still seeks to improve. “I didn’t entirely do what I set out to do, I still need to work on my grip,” she analyzed.
Alix Renaud-Roy (Under 70 kg) earned herself a bronze medal as a souvenir after she won three of four matches. Sophie Vaillancourt also stepped onto the podium for a bronze in the Over 78 kg category. In the Under 63 kg class, Monika Burgess was the highest-ranking Canadian with her fifth place, earned thanks to three victories and two defeats.
In men’s action, Jonah Burt took home a silver after a defeat in the final, after having won five of his bouts in the Under 81 kg class. In the same class, teammate Louis Krieber-Gagnon came fifth after his three victories and two losses. Zachary Burt was eliminated after his third match.
Brandon Jobb scored a bronze medal after he won four of his five bouts in the Under 90 kg class, while Marc Deschênes ended the weekend in seventh place.
In the Over 100 kg class, Martin Rygielski finished third for a bronze, with a scorecard comprising two wins and one defeat. Tarek Elmayergi finished with a fifth place ranking.
Elsewhere on the tatami, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (63 kg), Jaquina Simao (63 kg), Gabrielle Des Forges (63 kg), Jasmine Pitsilis (63 kg), Béatrice Valois-Fortier (63 kg) Caitlin Alder (63 kg), Emily Schaan (70 kg), Marie-Michèle Girard (70 kg), Geneviève Lavoie (78 kg) all were eliminated in their first rounds and did not obtain rankings.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada