Montréal, February 6, 2022 – François Gauthier-Drapeau, who has been making great strides on the international competition circuit, came close to winning a Grand Slam medal this weekend. At the prestigious Paris tournament on Sunday, the Canadian judoka finished fifth in the under-81 kg weight division after losing his bronze medal match in overtime.
The native of Alma, Quebec, tried several times to throw his opponent Sharofiddin Boltaboev of Uzbekistan—who finished seventh at the Tokyo Olympic Games last summer—but was unable to score. He came close to getting on the board in overtime; however, the referee did not award him any points, even though Boltaboev was slow to return to fighting position.
A few seconds later, the referee awarded a non-combativity penalty to Gauthier-Drapeau, who therefore automatically lost by ippon, as it was his third penalty of the match.
“This fight was really within my reach, and at times, he was more tired than I was. I’m disappointed, but as my coach (Alexandre Émond) always says, each of these experiences brings me closer to beating a guy like that. I keep getting better, and I no longer make certain errors that I made last fall, so I’m happy with that,” said the 24-year-old.
Earlier in the day, Gauthier-Drapeau won his first match by ippon against Bolor-Ochir Gereltuya of Mongolia. Later, in the quarter-final, he bowed out to Tato Grigalashvili of Georgia, who knocked him off-balance, causing him to fall on his back. Grigalashvili went on to win the silver medal.
“Gereltuya and Grigalashvili were ranked second and third in the world, which is impressive. I could have done better, but I’m still happy with my results, which were pretty good!” said Gauthier-Drapeau, who also beat Brazil’s Guiherme Schmidt by ippon in his first repechage.
Gauthier-Drapeau will be back in action in Tel Aviv in two weeks.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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