Montreal, June 11, 2016 – This Saturday was the first day of the European Cup, the last competition before the Rio Games for some of Canada’s judokas. Two Maple Leafers stepped up onto the podium in Celje, Slovenia, both in the Under 57 kg division. Jessica Klimkait got her hands on the silver, while Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard is bringing home a bronze.
After a bye from the opening round, Whitby’s Klimkait beat Turkish Ilayda Seyis by ippon. In her next match, a waza-ari and a yuko tipped the scale in her favour in a match against Belgian Nica Antonis.
The semi-finals saw her serve an ippon to Germany’s Amelie Stoll. However, the winds changed in the finals, and the gold medal went to Russian Daria Mezhetckaia.
“Jessica had a good day today, dominating her opponents all the way to the final,” said coach Sasha Mehmedovic. “The final was a very close match. The Russian girl managed to get a penalty against Jessica early in the match and was able to hold on to it until the end.”
Competing in the same weight class, Saint-Hubert’s Beauchemin-Pinard won all three of her preliminary matches by ippon, disposing of German Jacqueline Lisson, Dutch Esmeralda Puts and Hungarian Emoke Knetig.
In the semi-finals, the Quebecer lost by waza-ari to Russia’s Daria Mezhetckaia, who would go on to win the gold. Nevertheless, she finished the competition on a high note, with an ippon victory over Dutch Margriet Bergstra in the fight for third place.
“This was Catherine’s last competition before Rio, and it was a good confidence booster to get on the podium,” said Mehmedovic. “Although she didn’t end up on top of the podium like she hoped, I believe she is satisfied with her day.”
It was also a good day for Montrealer Ecaterina Guica (Under 52 kg). She reeled off three victories in the preliminary round, beating Slovenian Teja Tropan by ippon and both Hungarian Bernadett Keliger and Russian Galiya Sagitova by yuko.
In the semi-finals, an ippon from Russian Anna Pashina stopped the Canadian in her tracks. Up against Hungary’s Katinka Szabo in the fight for a bronze medal, Guica lost by waza-ari to finish the tournament in fifth place.
“Ecaterina was very close to a podium today,” said Mehmedovic. “In the semi-final and bronze medal matches, she took an early lead but her opponents managed to increase the pressure and come out on top. She had some valuable matches today that she will learn from and use to prepare for Rio.”
Bouchard in the Top Ten
Saguenay’s Antoine Bouchard came in ninth in the Under 66 kg. He started out his day with an ippon over Dutch Luke Nooijen, and then was served an ippon at the hands of Russia’s Egor Mgdsyan. In repechage, Bouchard scored another ippon, this time over Germany’s Nick Bobrowski, but yet another ippon, this time from Hungary’s Laszlo Burjan, put an end to the Canadian’s day.
“Bouchard fought hard today but made some mistakes that cost him valuable matches,” observed the national coach. “In both matches he lost, he was winning but wasn’t able to maintain the lead until the end.”
Also fighting for Canada this Saturday, Jaquina Simao (Under 63 kg), from Montreal, and Bradley Langlois (Under 73 kg), from Oshawa, didn’t rank in the competition, after being shown the door in the preliminary rounds.
This Sunday, Canada will be represented in the Under 70 kg class by Kelita Zupancic, and in the Under 81 kg division by Étienne Briand, Antoine Valois-Fortier and Arthur Margelidon.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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