Montréal, February 5, 2012 – Several Canadian judokas were in action, Sunday, at the Grand Slam tournament held in Paris, France. Antoine Valois-Fortier (-81 kg) of Québec, and Amy Cotton (-78 kg) of Montréal, both saw their runs end in the 1/8 final. They still posted the best Canadian results of the day, finishing ninth in their respective categories.
In the middle of his second bout, Antoine Valois-Fortier was quite certain he had the Moldovan Sergiu Toma, bronze medallist at the last World Championships, right where he wanted him. Unfortunately for the Quebecer, Toma was able to force an overtime period with a strong finish in regulation time. “After the three minutes of extra time, the fight was still even. I ended up losing 2-1 on a split decision,” the judoka described. Despite the loss, Valois-Fortier was upbeat about his performance against a top-notch opponent. As well, the ninth place finish gives him valuable points towards qualifying for the Olympic Games. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but this puts me in great position,” the Quebecer added.
In the under 78 kg class, Amy Cotton won her first round fight before falling to the 4th ranked and 2010 World champion, American Kayla Harrison. In the same category, Marylise Lévesque, of La Pocatière, was unable to get past her first opponent, Audrey Tcheumeo, who had the luxury of fighting at home in front of her fans.
Like Lévesque, the two other Canadians in action on the tatamis were also unable to obtain a classification. Kelita Zupancic (-70 kg) and Kalem Kachur (-81 kg) also lost their first round bouts.
The Canadian contingent will take part in a training camp this week in Paris. Afterwards the team will split, each side taking part in a World Cup competition. While the men will head to do battle in Oberwart, Austria, the women will represent Canada in Budapest, Hungary.