Montréal, August 27, 2014 – With the World Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia stacked with top competitors, the four Canadian judokas were up against it on Wednesday. As such, just one member of the squad, Alexis Morin-Martel, was able to come away with a victory.
Exempted from the first round in the under 73 kg class, Morin-Martel, ranked 35th in the world, defeated the young Czech judoka Jakub Jecminek (174th) by a waza-ari in his opening match. Unfortunately, the Quebecer would succumb to defeat in his following contest, falling by an ippon to the 14th ranked judoka, the Hungarian Miklos Ungvari.
“The refereeing in my match against the Czech was a bit suspect. I barely escaped with the win, having to throw him to ground with just a second left on the clock,” Morin-Martel explained.
The 26-year-old athlete then had the task of taking on the tough Ungvari, runner-up in the under 66 kg category at the 2012 London Games, and a three-time bronze medalist at the World Championships. “I’d already fought against him. The first time I came pretty close to winning, but this bout was more difficult.”
“I tried a counter-attack instead of falling on my stomach, and that’s what cost me the match. Falling behind by a point was tough for me because I had to try that much harder to come back. I gave it my all, but he ended up throwing me to ground,” Morin-Martel indicated.
“At this point in my career, I want better results than this. I’m not super satisfied with what I did today, but I feel like I’m at least headed in the right direction, and that I’m capable of beating the best out there.”
Also in the under 73 kg division, the Quebecer Étienne Briand, ranked 39th, was eliminated in his opening bout, falling to the Mongol Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal (13th), who won with a yuko.
The Japanese Riki Nakaya, sliver medalist at the 2012 London Games, took home the second world championships title of his career, beating the North Korean Kuk Hyon Hong in the finale. The Emirati Victor Scvortov and the Russian Musa Mogushkov claimed the two bronze medals up for grabs.
Beauchemin-Pinard and Tremblay shut out
In the under 57 kg class, Quebecers Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard and Stéfanie Tremblay also lost their first round matches on Wednesday.
The 9th ranked Beauchemin-Pinard was upset by the Bulgarian Ivelina Ilieva (35th), losing by a waza-ari, while Tremblay, ranked 27th, fell to the Slovenian Vlora Bedeti (12th), who scored an ippon in the last minute of regulation time.
“It’s definitely a big disappointment for me,” Beauchemin-Pinard admitted. “I didn’t fight the way that I usually do. In the final 30 seconds I didn’t see an opening for an attack, even though I was leading (by a shido). I didn’t place my hands like I should have, and I ended up faliing.”
In the finale, the Japanese Nae Udaka came away victorious against the Portuguese Telma Monteiro, who finished in second at a world Championship for the 4th time. The Dutchwoman Sanne Verhagen and the Frenchwoman Automne Pavia climbed to the third step of the podium.
Antoine-Valois Fortier will be the only Canadian in contention on Thursday, competing in the under 81 kg class. The bronze medalist at the London Games has claimed several podium finishes this year, and currently sits 6th in the international federation standings.
The Quebecer and Ontarian Kelita Zupancic, who will be competing in the under 70 kg category on Friday, are the top medal hopefuls for Team Canada.
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Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada