Montreal, January 11, 2020 — The Elite National Judo Championships started on Saturday with the U18 categories under the spotlight. After the last few editions at LA TOHU, this year’s tournament was held in the Pierre-Charbonneau Centre, where the Canada Cup was held in 2019.
Alexandre Émond, national coach at the Judo Canada National Training Centre in Montreal, was very satisfied with the results he saw today with the U18 athletes. “I love to see that from one tournament to another, the winners are rarely the same, meaning that their level is very close. While we do have favourites who are consistently on the podium, we also see newcomers fighting their way up, making it more challenging for the athletes and more interesting for us to watch. Our young athletes are very strong—I can’t wait to see what they’ll do at the international level in a few years.” Russ Gallant, provincial coach for Alberta, was very happy with his proteges today. “I think our judokas did very well. We had a few good surprises, and I can see our performances improving over time. Having the training centre in Alberta for the last few years really helped raise the level of judo in Alberta. It’s great to see the provinces being so close in the ranking, we never know what to expect coming in a tournament like this.”
Among the crowd’s favourites, Evelyn Beaton (AB, -48 kg) proved once again she was a force to be reckoned with. At only 15, she has won her second Elite title in just as many years. Beaton had a perfect score coming into the finals after defeating Heidi Quach (QC) and Béatrice Turcotte (QC). She kept her winning streak going in the finals by winning against Charlize-Isabelle Medilo (AB) by ippon. “I felt really confident coming into the competition. Training has been going well lately, and the training camp right before the tournament really helped. We get to fight with more experienced athletes and there’s a lot of randori, so we can learn a lot in a short time.” Beaton will be part of the Canadian team competing in Spain and Italy during the Cadet European Tour next month.
Amr Abdelrehim (ON, -90 kg), 16, also stood on the highest step of the podium for the second year in a row. He won five bouts, all by ippon, despite being nervous and upset at the beginning of the day. “My twin sister (Nouran Abdelrehim) was supposed to be competing too, but she dislocated her shoulder, so she had to sit this one out. I was pretty upset about it, but I was able to focus and I fought for her today.” Abdelrehim saw an improvement from last year, even though he had also won a gold medal. “I’m working with a new team this year, and I can see progress every week. Last year I did well, but this year, I scored ippons all day and my longest fight was 1:34, meaning that I was able to control the fights very quickly in each round.” He will be competing again tomorrow as a Senior. “I don’t know if I can win it all, but I’m hoping to at least reach finals tomorrow. It’ll be a great experience and a good training for other tournaments coming up soon.”
The competition will continue tomorrow with the Senior athletes, as well as the IBSA Pan American Championships. Tickets are available online (judonationals.org) and at the door. Complete results and live streaming of the event are available online at judocanada.tv.
Written by Sarah Mailhot for Judo Canada