Montréal, June 6, 2014 –The Quebecois judoka Patrick Gagné climbed to the third step of the podium, Friday, at the Havana Grand Prix in Cuba. In his battle for one of the two bronze medals up for grabs, Gagné took down his teammate Antoine Bouchard.
It’s important to note that this weekend’s tournament is the first competition to count towards the selection process for the upcoming Olympics, taking place in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Gagné started his day off with back-to-back victories over the Cuban Anyelo Gomez and the American Bradford Bolen. The Longueuil-native would then go on to lose to the 8th ranked Russian Mikhail Pulyaev, falling by way of an ippon. Pulyaev would ride his good form all the way to the final, where he claimed the gold medal.
“It’s a big medal for me since it is my first ever in a Grand Prix! Antoine (Bouchard) also had a good day and our match was really close,” explained Gagné, who believes it was his experience that gave him the necessary edge in his final match of the day. “I forced him to take some penalties and I felt that I was a bit more strategic than him. We both knew that it would be difficult to take each other down.”
Despite the fact that he’s taken a first big step in qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games, Patrick Gagné isn’t about to get ahead of himself. “It’s just the beginning and I don’t want to sit on my laurels too much. I’ll be in Salvador next week and I’ll be gunning for another top result.”
Bouchard meanwhile, ranked 92nd in the international standings, would finish his day with a record of 2-2, good for a 5th place classification. His run included wins over the Lithuanian Gediminas Pakalnis, and Belgians Kenneth Van Gansbeke and Jasper Lefevere, the 38th and 45th ranked judokas, respectively.
As for the other Canadians in action, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, the 30th ranked judoka in the under 57 kg class, won her first bout against the Swiss Larissa Csatari before falling to the 8th ranked Romanian Corina Caprioriu by a yuko. The athlete from Longueuil would settle for a 9th place finish.
Also competing in the under 57 kg category, Stéfanie Tremblay fell in her one and only bout to the eventual bronze medal winner, the Cuban Aliuska Ojeda.
Charles Breton-Leduc (-60 kg) suffered the same fate against the Cuban Javier Pena, falling in his first match.
Neither Tremblay nor Breton-Leduc finished with a classification.
On Saturday Canada will be well represented, with Monika Burgess (-70 kg), Kelita Zupancic (-70 kg), Étienne Briand (-73 kg), Scott McGrandle (-81 kg) and Antoine Valois-Fortier (-81 kg) all in action.
Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi (-78 kg), Catherine Roberge (-78 kg) and Brandon Jobb (-90 kg) will put their skills to the test on Sunday.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada