Montreal, February 19, 2017 – Three Canadians took to the podium in Europe on Sunday. Kelita Zupancic reached the second level of the podium at the European Open in Oberwart, Austria, and Étienne Briand and Zachary Burt were awarded bronze medals in their respective weight classes at the European Open in Rome, Italy.
Zupancic put in a perfect performance right up until the final round. Competing in the U70 kg group, she dispatched of both Carola Paissoni of Italy and Gemma Howell of Great Britain by ippon before outmanoeuvring Naeko Maeda of Japan and winning by waza-ari.
In the gold medal bout, the Ontarian was caught off guard by Japan’s Yoko Ono, who ended the match by ippon. The bronze medals went to Howell and Maeda.
Bronze for Briand and Burt
Meanwhile, the men were competing in Rome on Sunday. Étienne Briand recorded only one loss in today’s U81 kg action. The judoka from Sept-Îles opened with three victories in the preliminary round, beating Martin Matijass of Germany, Nick Kellij of the Netherlands, and Afig Safarli of Azerbaijan.
“My first match was tough because I often train with Matijass when I’m in Europe. It went all the way to Golden Score. It was a really demanding fight. As for the others, I was able to take them out pretty quickly,” commented Briand.
In the semi-final, the Quebecois succumbed to Brazilian Eduardo Yudi Santos’ ippon but came back to steal the bronze from Italy’s Matteo Marconcini, thanks to a waza-ari.
“Last fall, I lost to Santos in a bronze medal match at the World Cup. He’s really strong. Today’s bout started well for me. I made a major attack in the first ten seconds and thought it was an ippon. That threw my concentration off a bit and he was able to capitalize on that. As for Marconcini, who placed fifth at the Rio Olympics, it felt good to beat him on his home turf,” added Briand, visibly pleased with his improvement in the U81 kg class over the past year.
Eduardo Yudi Santos and Rafael Macedo of Brazil placed first and second respectively, and Japan’s Sotaro Fujiwara received the other bronze medal.
In the U90 kg group, Zachary Burt of Oshawa faced off against his teammate Louis Krieber-Gagnon of Montreal in the bronze medal final. Burt came out victorious by scoring a waza-ari, and Krieber-Gagnon had to content himself with a fifth-place finish.
Earlier in the day, Burt had defeated Rico Harder of the Netherlands, Ciril Grossklaus of Switzerland, and Lee Jae-yong of South Korea. His sweep was blocked by Tural Safguliyev of Azerbaijan, who ended their match by ippon. Safguliyev finished in second place.
Also on the podium were Piotr Kuczera of Poland (gold) and Gwak Dong-han of South Korea (bronze).
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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