Montreal, August 29, 2017 – Antoine Bouchard and Ecaterina Guica, the first Canadian judokas to hit the tatamis at the 2017 World Championships, both saw their days cut short on Tuesday in Budapest, Hungary.
“I would have liked the day to last a little longer for me,” admitted Bouchard (U66 kg), who was eliminated in the second round. France’s Kilian Le Blouch, ranked 60th in the world, ousted Bouchard in overtime. “The bout should have been mine. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aggressive enough.”
The two judokas knew each other going in, having faced off many times during training. “His strength is to push matches into overtime. I knew it was going to be a long one if I didn’t manage to throw him,” explained Bouchard, currently ranked 33rd in the world.
Their physical fitness was the deciding factor. “He’s in almost impeccable shape while I’m in pretty good shape. The further the bout progressed, the less I tried less to initiate things. Meanwhile, he stuck to his usual strategy and it worked.”
Earlier, in the first round, Bouchard had quickly eliminated Yuk Ting Lee of Hong Kong. “It allowed me to get into the game, and after making a few adjustments, I managed to score against him twice.”
In women’s competition, Ecaterina Guica (U52 kg) was shown the door by Angelica Delgado of the U.S.A., who beat her by ippon.
New Weight Class for Bouchard
Now that the World Championships are behind him, Antoine Bouchard will move up from the U66 kg category to the U73 kg category.
“My coaches and I discussed it and we decided I should change categories. It’s the logical next step in my development,” noted the Québécois, who has been struggling to remain under 66 kg.
“The dilemma was, do I take a chance and remain in the same category until 2020, or do I make the change right away?” explained Bouchard, who finished fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. “It’s kind of my last chance. In four or five months, it will be too late; I’ll be past the point of no return.”
“Competition in the higher weight class is not as quick, but it’s more physical. There’s a long learning curve ahead of me but I’m looking forward to meeting the challenge.”