Montréal, November 27 2021 – Étienne Briand was doing some soul-searching and head scratching after a disappointing performance at the Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) Grand Slam. While he was in control during much of his bout in the -81kg class this Saturday, the Canadian was finally halted in the second round.
“It was a bit strange as far as matches go,” said Briand post-competition, in reference to the odd turn of events in terms of points awarded to his opponent, Polish judoka Pawel Drzymal. “There was only one real throw to do on the tatami, and I did it. It’s a shame to lose in a match like this.”
Drzymal scored his first waza-ari after about a minute of competition. Étienne Briand came back with genuine strength, but a few moments later, his opponent pulled off a second waza-ari to win.
“With the refereeing, we didn’t really know what to expect, and there was no consistency. Throughout the fight, I was convinced I was going to win. Sure, I ended up being wrong, but I remained focused, so I didn’t lose my flow or concentration,” said the Canadian, understandably disappointed with today’s result.
Briand had emerged victorious from his first meeting on the tatami against Catalin Marian of Moldova, with a waza-ari in overtime.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam is Briand’s first event since last June’s World Championships in Budapest, but the Québec native felt good on the tatami regardless, even with the pause in competitions.
“I felt pretty good, even though it’s been a while since I competed. Honestly, that had no effect on me today; it’s just a shame that today concluded as it did.”
Also in action in the Under 81 kg category was Canadian Constantin Gabun, who advanced to the second round after his opponent Sebastian Marcinkiewicz of Poland was disqualified.
Gabun then took on Belgium’s Matthias Casse – the latter currently second internationally in his category – but then lost by ippon. As for Casse, he concluded the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam with a gold medal around his neck.
Bouchard searching for rhythm
In action in the under 73 kg category, Antoine Bouchard was stopped in the second round by Armen Agaian of Russia after a mere 38 seconds of combat. Agaian managed to knock Bouchard down to score an ippon; the Russian judoka would go on to finish the tournament on the third step of the podium.
“I was totally taken by surprise. I think I’m going to have to adapt my training in order to arrive even better prepared next time,” mused Bouchard.
At his first tournament since April 2021’S Antalya Grand Slam, Bouchard admitted he felt a bit rusty early on in the day, even though mentally, he felt ready to go.
“I definitely came here with the goal of winning. Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go that way. Honestly, I think the solution is mainly to get back into my competitive rhythm – to do more tournaments, and more training camps to prepare.”
There’s still more judo action to be had, tomorrow, Sunday, at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. Coralie Godbout will step onto the tatami sporting the maple leaf in the Under 78 kg category. Mohab (-90 kg) and Shady ElNahas (-100 kg) will also be ones to watch for Team Canadian, as will Marc Deschênes in the Over 100 kg category.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada