Udine Junior European Judo Cup
Montréal, August 12, 2021 – Some of Canada’s junior judokas happily returned to the tatami for Udine, Italy’s Junior European Judo Cup, where over 350 athletes from some 30 countries were present for exciting judo competitions. Canadians Alexandre Arencibia and Isabelle Harris stood out Thursday, with solid fifth and ninth place finishes, respectively, in their categories.
Photo Judo Canada
Alexandre Arencibia (in white).
Stepping onto the mat in the Under 90kg category, Arencibia finished just off the podium after a hard-fought day. Defeated early on by Russia’s Adam Sangariev (who went on to win silver), the Montréal native went on to himself defeat Sweden’s Karl Baathe, and Hungary’s Peter Safrany in the repêchage. However, Arencibia’s medal dreams were snatched away in the bronze medal match against Benjamin Mataseje from Slovakia.
Despite the loss, Coach Jean-Pierre Cantin said he was satisfied with the Quebecois athlete’s performance – above all since it comes after several months without competitions. “With his fifth place finish, Alexandre was our best athlete today (Thursday). In his bronze medal bout, he lost by shidos for non-combativity, but honestly, it was a great performance given the current conditions.”
Harris also had a strong day in Under 63 kg events. The 20 year-old athlete concluded her day with a record of one win and two losses. In her last bout, she was defeated by way of shidos by Spain’s Laura Vazquez Fernanadez, after she had previously knocked her down for waza-ari.
“She was penalized for going off the mat and false attacks – mistakes that she normally never makes. In fact, like Alexandre, Isabelle only lost to medalists in this tournament,” noted Cantin.
Yet Coach Cantin noted that these kinds of minor errors were also made by several athletes from the United States during the competition, and mentioned that months spent away from the mat are partly to blame for the situation. Regardless, he remains confident that time will sort things out once again.
“It’s difficult, because many of our athletes fight well and manage to throw their opponents – but at the same time, they do make a lot of little mistakes that unfortunately cost them wins.”
Also in action in Udine this Thursday was Keagan Young (-90 kg), who finished the day with one win and one loss. Amélie Grenier (-52 kg), Eibhleann Alexander (-57 kg), Justine Simard (-63 kg) and Payton Harris (-81 kg) were all defeated in their only bout of the day, while Ian Ryder (-100 kg) suffered two losses.
In Wednesday’s events, Coralie Godbout was the highest-ranking Canadian, with a seventh place result in the Under 78 kg, and one win and two losses. The Quebecois athlete defeated Russia’s Liubov Orlava in her first bout, but was then herself defeated by Hungary’s Szilvia Farkas – who went on to win bronze. In the repechage, Godbout was handed a loss by Italy’s Carolina Mengucci.
Yet, Godbout’s performance is in fact quite impressive: she wasn’t even at her physical best during her bouts.
“Coralie managed a seventh place finish with an ankle injury – an excellent performance. When the accident happened last Saturday, we didn’t even think she’d be able to compete at all! She showed a lot of fight and determination,” said Cantin.
Ontario’s Alexandria Le Fort also had a one win, two loss result sheet, which landed her in ninth place in the Under 70 kg category. She first lost to France’s Kaila Issoufi – the latter of whom finished the day on the third step of the podium. Le Fort recovered from the defeat to win against Austria’s Pia-Jacqueline Kraft, but unfortunately, the Canadian’s wins came to an end when she faced Russia’s Daria Vasileva.
“I’m very proud of her, it’s been a great return to competition for Alexandra,” said Coach Cantin.
In the Under 73 kg category, Finn Shroeder and Justin Lemire both won a bout and suffered a loss; they were not ranked.
Joel Demaere (-60 kg), Malcolm Pelletier (-66 kg) and Bogdan Jora (-73 kg) were also left without a ranking after suffering a loss in their only respective bouts.
“Our juniors broke the ice after over 18 months without any competitions. I didn’t expect anything when we came here, except to get our feet wet and get back in the game. Now we need to gear up, get back up to speed, and prepare for the next tournament,” concluded Cantin.
Written by: Sportcom pour Judo Canada