Montreal, November 24, 2019 – Three Canadian judokas had a similar fate on Sunday at the Osaka Grand Slam, in Japan. Zachary Burt, Shady El Nahas and Kyle Reyes each won their first match before being eliminated by a Japanese opponent fighting in front of a home crowd.
Zachary Burt, in action in -90 kg, started by taking his revenge against Netherlander Jesper Smink, who had defeated him last year in the Netherlands at the end of a long match.
“I was able to grip him and use a strangle hold I’ve been practising every week in training. It was great not only to tie it at 1-1 and win, but also to successfully use something I’ve been working on for weeks,” said Burt.
After a convincing victory by ippon, the Canadian faced Japanese Kenta Nagasawa, 10th on the world ranking, in the second round. “I knew it would be difficult, but I was feeling very good after that first match, and I was excited to fight him. I was surprised by his strength and he kept the advantage on the grip, that’s what made the difference.”
Burt got a third penalty in the last minute, ending his tournament and giving Nagasawa the victory. “I personally think the last penalty came a little fast. I will make adjustments on my grip to win against him next time.”
Kyle Reyes defeated Peruvian Jose Luis Arroyo Osorio by ippon in -100 kg before losing against Japanese Aaron Wolf, ranked 13th in the world and eventual bronze medallist in Osaka.
Fighting in the same category, Shady El Nahas got a bye through the first round. He won against Austrian Aaron Fara in his first match, but then lost against Japanese Daiki Nishiyama.
“Zach, Kyle and Shady all started out strong and easily got through the first round. They fought well, but they couldn’t figure out how to win against the crowd’s favourites,” explained Canadian coach Sasha Mehmedovic. He added that the Canadian squad had a great start with Jessica Klimkait’s bronze medal and Ecaterina Guica’s 7th place. Things didn’t go as well after that.
“The first day was good, but we couldn’t get big wins after that. The Osaka Grand Slam is always difficult, because there are four Japanese athletes in each category. Now we have to focus on our preparation for the Masters in China in three weeks.”
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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