Montréal, April 3, 2022 – Louis Krieber-Gagnon put in the best performance of his Grand Slam career on Sunday in Antalya, Turkey, where he fought for a bronze medal in the under-90 kg category. The Canadian ultimately finished the day in fifth place, but with the satisfaction of having won several important bouts against some of the world’s top 15 judokas.
Krieber-Gagnon’s last fight of the day was against Rafael Macedo of Brazil. The Montrealer attempted to find his stride early in the match, but he quickly received two penalties. He therefore played it safe for the remainder of the bout, which allowed his opponent to make several attacks. In the end, Macedo was able to score an ippon to defeat Krieber-Gagnon in the third minute of regulation time.
“The dynamic definitely changes when you receive shidos, and I didn’t want to lose because of penalties. I tried to attack again but couldn’t find an opening. He fought better than I did and he deserves the win,” the 25-year-old said humbly after the tournament.
The fight against Macedo was Krieber-Gagnon’s sixth of the day, capping off a series of challenging matches. Krieber-Gagnon won four of his six bouts today, against tough competitors. Among them were Mihael Zgank of Turkey and Komronshokh Ustopiriyon of Tajikistan, ranked 8th and 11th in the world.
Krieber-Gagnon’s hopes of competing for a gold medal were dashed in the quarter-final by Jesper Smink of the Netherlands, who won in overtime. Smink also finished the day in fifth place.
“It was a great day for me, and beating some of the world’s best judokas was really good for my confidence. I made certain errors in the bouts I lost, but still, I can see that I’ve improved and that I still have work to do to win a medal,” explained Krieber-Gagnon, who is looking forward to the remainder of the season. “I worked hard in training to fix certain things that were apparent in my previous competitions. I’m continuing to learn from my mistakes. I had a great time at this tournament and I felt really good, so I guess we’re doing something right.”
Fifth place for Kyle Reyes, despite pain
Kyle Reyes, who competed in the under-100 kg category on Sunday, also advanced to the bronze medal final. However, he did not quite reach the podium, finishing fifth after being defeated by Elmar Gasimov of Azerbaijan.
Despite attempting several attacks in the first two minutes, Reyes was unable to complete a throw. After receiving a shido, the Ontarian soldiered on, but was defeated with just over a minute left on the clock when his opponent knocked him down to score an ippon.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t patient enough. I knew he was very strong, especially in the first few minutes, and I got into his space too quickly,” analyzed Reyes, who fought through an injury to his right shoulder, suffered earlier in the competition.
“I hurt myself in the semi-final and I could still feel it during the bronze medal final, especially after I fell near the end. We’ll have to wait to find out more, but I hope it’s nothing too serious.”
A few hours earlier, Reyes had begun his day by winning three drawn-out bouts in a row against Bojan Dosen of Serbia, Zelym Kotsoiev of Azerbaijan and Rafael Buzacarini of Brazil.
The Canadian then faced Jorge Fonseca of Portugal, against whom he was injured in the semi-final. Fonseca, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games and is ranked second in the world, went on to finish his day on the third step of the podium.
“It was a good day and I enjoyed competing today, despite my injury. I hadn’t been to a tournament in a long time and I was happy to get back to competing. I learned a lot and I can see where I need to keep improving. I’m already looking forward to my next fight,” concluded Reyes.
Shady El Nahas, who also competed in the under-100 kg draw, was himself defeated by Gasimov, who scored an ippon in the third round to eliminate the Ontarian, who is currently ranked third in the world.
The only other Canadian in action in Antalya on Sunday was Marc Deschênes (+100 kg), who finished his day with one win and one loss. He was eliminated by ippon by Joseph Terhec of France, who placed fifth in the weight division.
The Canadian delegation will leave Turkey with one gold medal, won by Jessica Klimkait in the under-57 kg category on Friday.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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