Three Canadians Crowned Pan American Champions

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Montreal, July 6, 2018 – Canadian judokas Justin Lemire (-66 kg), Keagan Young (-73 kg), and Ian Ryder (-90 kg) all stood on the highest step of the podium in their respective categories on Friday during the Pan American Cadet Championships in Cordoba, in Argentina.

“It was a good day in general. These were the first Pan American Championships for some of the athletes. There were some good fights, but others were frustrating” said Canadian coach James Millar, from the outset.

Fighting in the -73 kg category, Keagan Young was quick on the mats, defeating all his opponents by ippon. During the final, Panamanian Alexis Harrison Ayarza held on for a minute and eight seconds against the Ontarian.

“Keagan had won against him a few weeks ago during the Pan American Cup in Dominican Republic, but today, he was smarter.”

“I knew I was able to beat him, but I still had to do it. Winning is always a surprise, because you never know what will happen. I’m really happy,” said Young.

Young is currently ranked fifth in the Cadet world ranking in his category; with this Pan American victory, he’d become number one in the world in the next world ranking getting out next week. “It’s crazy! I’ve been fighting as a cadet for three years, and I’ve never been so close to being number one. I’m a little surprised, but it’s the reward for all my efforts.”

During his last year as a cadet, Young still impresses. “His judo is getting better every day, and he’s becoming more mature. The more mature he is, the more comfortable he is in his environment, and it shows on the mats,” explained Millar.

An Important Gold Medal

Quebecois Justin Lemire had his first international victory by winning the gold medal in the -66 kg category.

“It’s not that surprising, because Justin has a lot of potential, but it’s an important victory in his career,” said his coach Alexandre Émond.

In the final, the athlete from Rawdon won by ippon against Cuban Kimy Bravo Blanco. “I was expecting a medal, but the gold was a big surprise. I needed to work on little details that weren’t working during my previous competitions, and it worked. I was explosive, and my techniques were effective. I had a good timing,” explained the athlete, who said he wasn’t nervous during his fight for the gold medal.

“I knew what I had to do when I got there. I was surprised by how quickly it went by, and by how well I dominated my opponent.”

Even though there weren’t a lot of athletes fighting in the -90 kg, British Colombian Ian Ryder was up against strong opponents. His victories, first against Cuban Sergueis Rodriguez Figueroa, and then Brazilian Adriel Santos, after 7 minutes and 20 seconds, earned him the gold medal.

“Brazil and Cuba are strong countries in judo, and they are very strong athletes. Ian dominated well, and it’s a good performance for him. He did well,” said Alexandre Émond.

Fighting in the -81 kg category, Alexandre Arencibia finished third. Despite being defeated in the first round, the Quebecois did well enough in repechage to come back against his teammate Martin Penchev for the bronze-medal bout. Arencibia won by ippon, and Penchev ended in fifth place.

Erik Vandersanden (-60 kg), and Bogdan Jora (-66 kg) also finished in fifth.

Tanner and Booth in Bronze

On the women’s side, Sierra Tanner and Brae Booth both won a bronze medal in their respective category, -57 kg and -70 kg.

During her last fight in repechage, Tanner won against her teammate Rachel Krapman, who was ranked fifth, and Booth defeated Argentinian Victoria Delvecchio to win her medal.

“Brae Booth executed a great ippon to win her bronze medal!” exclaimed Alexandre Émond. “She has improved a lot. She was a little unlucky in her semi-final fight, there were judging mistakes and she lost because of penalties. She could have ended in the final and won the whole thing. She doesn’t have a lot of international experience yet, so this is very good for her.”

Kimiko Kamstra (-44 kg), Tami Goto (-48 kg), and Coralie Godbout (-70 kg) weren’t far from the podium, having all lost their bronze-medal bout.

Sarah Maloum (two losses) didn’t get a ranking in the -52 kg.

On Saturday, still in Cordoba, junior athletes will be in the spotlight in their quest for a Pan American title.

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Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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Patrick Esparbès
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