Montreal, March 18, 2012 – Canadian judokas were in action in the European Junior Cup in Coimbra, Portugal this weekend – and will have heavy luggage after having won six medals in total. Antoine Bouchard was the winner in the Under 66 kg class, while Étienne Briand earned a silver medal in the Under 73 kg category. Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (Under 63 kg), Alix Renaud-Roy (Under 70 kg), Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi (Under 78 kg) and Louis Krieber-Gagnon (Under 81 kg) all stepped onto podium in their respective classes, each with bronze medal wins.
The medal haul certainly pleased Team Canada Coach Marie-Hélène Chisholm, “It was a fantastic weekend, all told, our team participated in 98 matches. We weren’t expecting as many victories, since the level of competition is so much higher this year with more judokas per category and more countries participating,” commented Chisholm.
Antoine Bouchard won all five of his matches, giving him passage to the finals in the Under 66 kg category. Bouchard faced The Netherlands’ Junior Degen in the gold medal round. “This was Antoine’s first European Cup, he did really well in each of his bouts by remaining focused and calm the entire day,” analyzed Chisholm.
In the Under 73 kg class, Étienne Briand only saw defeat in the final when the match went into overtime; Germany’s Valentin Larasser stopped Briand’s gold medal surge. “It was a very tight match, Étienne lead the bout, but he was surprised by a move. All the same he had a great day and won some difficult matches,” Chisholm added.
Arthur Margelidon, fifth in the competition, and John Nagy, ninth, were also bested by Larasser. Margelidon was defeated by the German in the semi-final, then was bested by Portugal’s Nuno Saraiva in the bronze medal bout. Nagy had to face Larasser in the quarter-final, the former then fell to Italy’s Antonio Esposito in overtime.
In action in the Under 81 kg class, Louis Krieber-Gagnon was halted in the second round by Switzerland’s Florian Girardoz. Commenting on the bout, coach Marie-Hélène Chisholm remarked “That was such a tight match that he almost won.” In overtime, the youngest judoka in Canada’s delegation made it all the way to the bronze medal round, which he won at the expense of another Canadian (Zachary Burt, who finished fifth).
Darren Dequan Elcock in the Under 55kg category lost his bronze medal round against Duarte Branco; the former finished in fifth place. Nicolas DiBartolo finished ninth.
Simon Gaudreault-Faucher (Under 66 kg), Patrick Cantin (Under 66 kg), André Nogueira (Under 73 kg), George Poklitar (Under 60 kg), Marc Deschênes (Under 90 kg), Miguel Raymond (Under 90 kg) and Masson Bruneau (Over 100 kg) did not achieve final rankings.
Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi Wins Bronze, Despite the Odds
In women’s judo, Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi climbed onto the third step of the podium in the Under 78 kg category. The 16 year old, who generally competes in the U17 class, impressed in the junior ranks. Portuondo-Isasi lost in the quarter-final against Italy’s Valeria Ferrari, but then went on to win two overtime bouts against Portugal’s Erica Rompao and England’s Hannah Lewis; for her efforts, the Canadian won the bronze medal. “Ana Laura had a great performance, she displayed so much potential!” enthused Chisholm.
In the Under 63 kg category, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard also earned a bronze medal for her efforts. With three wins in the main table, the Quebec native was bested by Austria’s Magdalena Krssakova in the semi-final. Qualified for third place, Beauchemin-Pinard then bettered Croatia’s Ana Kokeza, which allowed the Canadian to take home some sporting hardware.
Béatrice Valois-Fortier finished seventh.
In the Under 70 kg category, Alix Renaud-Roy was defeated in her second match of the main table prior to going into overtime, where she won two bouts to qualify for the bronze medal round, where she in turn bested Spain’s Sara Gonzalez and earned a podium spot.
Whitney Lohnes (Under 48 kg), Briana McCracken (Under 52 kg), Josianne Gagné (Under 52 kg), Jessica Larouche-Hovington (Under 52 kg), Kaitie Dennis (Under 57 kg), Ecaterina Guica (Under 57 kg), Ève Brochu-Joubert (Under 57 kg), Kelly-Ann Giguère (Under 57 kg), Gabrielle DesForges (Under 63 kg), Salima Mesri (Under 78 kg) and Sophie Vaillancourt (Over 78 kg) were not in the final rankings.
Canada’s judokas now head to Germany for another Junior tournament next weekend.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada