François Gauthier-Drapeau Goes Head-to-Head with No. 2 Ranked Judoka

Seventh Place for Kelly Deguchi at First Grand Slam
18 October 2021
Julien Frascadore Progresses in Málaga
24 October 2021
Photo: IJF/Sabau Gabriela

François Gauthier-Drapeau had his work cut out for him at the Paris Grand Slam on Sunday. The Canadian judoka faced a tough fight against Matthias Casse of Belgium—ranked second in the world in the under-81 kg class—and finally bowed out during overtime.

For Gauthier-Drapeau, who was at his first career Grand Slam, the bout was a challenging one. He received an early penalty, and then both judokas received shidos with 24 seconds left in regulation time.

Following a few attempted attacks on both sides, Casse threw Gauthier-Drapeau to the ground to win by ippon in overtime.

“I’m somewhat satisfied because even though it wasn’t the result I was after, the fact that it was my first tournament in a long time makes me feel a bit better,” stated Gauthier-Drapeau. “I’m happy with my performance, but I also know that I fell into his trap.”

Gauthier-Drapeau’s first fight of the day was against Khalil Rebahi of Qatar. He scored a waza-ari two minutes into the bout, then followed up with a second waza-ari to clinch the victory.

“I was really stressed out at the beginning of the tournament, so winning my first match relieved a lot of the pressure I was feeling. It gave me a confidence boost [for my second bout], even though I knew there was really no comparison between my two opponents.”

Also in under-81 kg action, Constantin Gabun defeated Brazil’s Guilherme Schimidt, ranked 22nd in the world. Schimidt was disqualified after grabbing Gabun’s arm in a dangerous manner. The move injured Gabun, who was forced to withdraw from his second-round match.

Louis Krieber-Gagnon (under-90 kg) recorded one victory before losing the fight that put an end to his day. Out of the gate, he bested Tengis Batsaikhan of Mongolia with two waza-ari, then lost to Abderahmane Diao of Senegal.