Montreal, January 12, 2019 – Today was the first day of the 2019 Elite Nationals in Montreal. Once again, la TOHU was the perfect venue to showcase the talent of the best Canadian athletes. Familiar faces and newcomers had a unique chance to prove they deserve a place in the top 8 of their provinces.
Gueorgui Poklitar, from Quebec, was very satisfied with his first day. After a difficult start, he was able to refocus and come back strong to win the -60 kg finale against Alexandre Dibartolo for the second year in a row. “Every time I’m up against him, it’s a very tight fight. He’s a strong opponent, and he has more experience than me, so it’s always very rewarding to score against him. I’m very happy to be back on top of the podium this year, because I had surgery last May, and this victory shows me I’m back to the level I was at last year.”
Also winning the title in her category, Ontarian Jessica Klimkait (-63 kg) saw the tournament as an opportunity to try new techniques before her next international events. “I’ve tried a couple different throws, and I’m happy with what I did. We had a training camp with a lot of volume right before coming here, and it was tiring, but I see it as a preparation for the Paris Grand Slam in a few weeks. I saw some positive things, so I’m looking forward to Paris now, and I really hope to do well there.”
Shady El Nahas (-100 kg), from Ontario, also a familiar face on the podium, had his ups and downs. “I didn’t warm-up properly, so I wasn’t feeling very well during the semifinals, but I was better in the finale,” he explains. “With the results I had this year, and the medal I won in Osaka, I felt confident, but it’s always a good confidence boost to have a great tournament right before leaving for Europe. I’m very happy with today and I feel ready.”
After the first day, the province of Quebec had a comfortable lead on the medal count.
The tournament continues on Sunday with the U18 athletes starting at 8:15. Tickets are on sale at la TOHU and a live streaming is available on judocanada.tv.
Written by Sarah Mailhot for Judo Canada
Chief Operating Officer