Montreal, October 18, 2019 – “They are gaining experience.” National coach Jean-Pierre Cantin summarized the performance of the Canadian team on day 3 of the Junior World Championships held in Marrakech, in Morocco.
From three Canadians in action on Friday, only Alexandre Arencibia had a taste of victory.
After getting a bye through the first round in -81 kg, the Montrealer defeater Moroccan Anwar Zrhari by ippon. “He managed it well, he placed his hands properly, and the right-handed against right-handed style is comfortable for him,” said Cantin.
It became more difficult in the next round when he faced Vladimir Akhalatasi. Arencibia held his own for 2 minutes and 34 seconds against the Georgian, who then scored an ippon and won the bout. “We tried different strategies, because we didn’t know him, but he was very strong. Maybe we didn’t have the best strategy against him.”
No judoka was able to defeat Akhalatsi on Friday. He won all his fights by ippon and stood on the highest step of the podium after defeating Russian David Karapetyan. “Alexandre was eliminated quickly, but knowing it was against the eventual winner provided some relief for the early elimination,” explained Cantin.
Also fighting in -81 kg, Keagan Young was eliminated in the second round after getting a bye through the first one. Even though he was the first one to score against Brazilian Marcelo Gomes, the Ontarian judoka got caught. “Keagan thought he had seen an opening, so he went for it, but the Brazilian was expecting it. He dodged the attack and counterattacked for ippon,” explained Cantin.
In the -90 kg category, Benjamin Kendrick was defeated in his first bout by ippon by Georgia-native Spanish Ilia Kabhuliani. “His opponent had a very physical style, and it has left-hand against left-hand. Ben has always had difficulty with that, and he couldn’t find a way to score. The Spaniard dominated, he scored twice, and it was done.”
Cantin thinks Kendrick simply froze. “These are World Championships. You can’t make any mistake, because everyone here is very well prepared.”
Lessons to Learn
World Championships will continue until Sunday in Morocco, but the Canadian team is already done. There will be no judoka representing Canada on Saturday, and the team won’t be competing in the team event on Sunday.
After evaluating the tournament, Jean-Pierre Cantin has ideas to lead his young team to the highest level. “These are World Championships. They had to be ready. Did we do the right training? Were we well prepared?” he asked.
“We will need more discipline, and to find solutions and execute them. We can’t simply go home and keep doing the same thing. We have to take time to reflect, and improve,” added Cantin.
Back on the drawing board, he knows what his athletes will have to work on. “They have to adapt to different styles better, and they have to be more versatile. They’ll have to work on keeping their distance and grip both sleeves,” added the coach, who sees a lot of potential in the future.
“Several of our athletes are in their first year as juniors,” he said. “They were up against very experienced athletes.”
The Canadian team will be flying back home on Saturday.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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