Shady El Nahas added a final medal to Canada’s haul when he earned a gold medal Sunday on the final day of the Tbilisi Grand Slam in Georgia. The Ontarian bested the local Georgian favourite, Ilia Sulamanidze, in the under-100 kg final. For El Nahas, who turned 23 on Saturday, it was a great way to celebrate his birthday.
The Canadian team will depart from Georgia with a total of four medals: two gold, one silver and one bronze, putting Canada in second place overall in the tournament.
“This is my best result so far in my career. I could even call it a perfect day! We heavyweights were hoping to go back to Canada with a medal, to show the lighter ones [on the Canadian team] that we can do it too. These have been three great days for Team Canada, and I hope it continues!” said the gold medallist.
For the first three minutes of the final, the two competitors appeared to be on equal footing. El Nahas attempted his first scoring attacks with about a minute to go, but the score remained 0-0. With only about thirty seconds left, the Canadian managed to knock Sulamanidze onto his back to score a waza-ari.
El Nahas then played it safe until time ran out, and although he received two non-combativity penalties, his score was high enough to secure his victory.
“It was a technique that my coaches and I had kept on hand. I kept it hidden and it worked,” continued El Nahas, who believes this victory will ensure he keeps his spot in the world’s Top Eight. “I really needed this medal, and it will help me a lot for Tokyo. It’s a relief because I hadn’t won a quarter-final for a long time, so I was really motivated to take it even further.”
In earlier rounds, the reigning Pan-American champ had defeated three of his four opponents by ippon.
In the under-90 kg category, Zachary Burt ended his day with one win and one loss. He first defeated Switzerland’s Ciril Grossklauss, but later bowed out to Kazakhstan’s Islam Bozbayev in overtime. In the same weight class, Mohab El Nahas lost his only fight of the day to American Colton Browne, also in overtime.
Marc Deschênes, the only Canadian to compete in the over-100 kg group, was defeated in his first bout of the day by Aliaksandr Vakhaviak of Belarus.