Four Medals for Canadian Cadet Judokas
Montréal, April 9, 2022 – Canada’s Lasha Tsatsalashvili was outstanding on Saturday at the PanAmerican-Oceania Cadets Championships in Lima, Peru. He was crowned champion in the men’s under-73 kg division after putting in a perfect performance and winning all three of his bouts by ippon.
In the gold medal final, the Ontarian relied on patience and strategy to dispose of Brazil’s Antonio Medeiros Neto.
“Lasha demonstrated that he really deserved to win today. His final match was a little tougher, but he adjusted quickly and beat a very strong opponent. He played it very strategically. He waited for the right moment to attack and win. We expected a good performance from him and he did very well,” coach Alexandre Émond said of Tsatsalashvili, who had earlier beaten Tiago Parada of Argentina and Augustin Moreno of Chile.
John Jr. Messé A Bessong also had a great day, finishing on the second step of the podium in the over-90 kg group. The Québécois ousted Argentina’s Francisco Gonzalez in the semi-final, but was unable to repeat the feat against Brazil’s Vitor Fagundes, who won the gold medal final by ippon.
“John showed real character! He came from behind in his first bout and dominated for most of the final. However, he let up at one point and his opponent took advantage of that. It was a fatal mistake, but one he can chalk up to experience and learn from,” explained Émond.
The only other Canadian male in competition on Saturday was Raphael Gaanan (-60 kg) of British Columbia. He lost his only two bouts of the day and finished ninth.
Two bronze medals for the women
In the women’s competition, Aliya Koliaska (-57 kg) and Ekaterina Danilkov (-48 kg)led the charge for Canada with a bronze medal each.
After an early victory over Peru’s Leticia Saavedra, Koliaska was defeated by ippon in the semi-final by Bianca Rosa of Brazil, who went on to clinch the gold medal.
However, the Albertan rebounded with a victory over Australia’s Ivona Ristevski in one of the two bronze medal finals.
For Danilkov, the road to the podium was a little tougher. Although she lost her first match of the day, the British Columbian did not give up. In the repechage, she defeated Angie Sanchez of Colombia to advance to the bronze medal final, where she capped off her day brilliantly with a win by ippon over Australia’s Clarissa Vumbaca.
Also in action on the women’s side was Callie Render. Although she advanced to the bronze medal final in the under-63 kg category, she was unable to defeat her opponent. She finished fifth in her group.
The judoka from Alberta won her first match of the day but was defeated by Emily Daniela Jaspe of the USA in the semi-final. Jaspe went on to claim the gold medal. Render then faced Constanza Perez of Chile in one of the fights for third place, but lost by ippon.
“The girls don’t have a lot of international competition experience, but they fought really well. They faced some tough opponents, but performed well nevertheless. This type of tournament is great for gaining experience. It will serve them well in the future, and they’ll definitely be able to build on it,” concluded Émond.
The tournament will continue on Sunday in Lima with the junior competitions. Lasha Tsatsashvili, John Jr. Messé A Bessong, Raphael Gaanan, Aliya Koliaska and Callie Render will all be back in action for Canada.
They will be joined by their Canadian teammates Justine Simard (-63 kg), Laurence Biron (-70 kg), Jannessa Keys (+78 kg), Munkhjin Batdorj (-73 kg), David Popovic (-81 kg) and Nikola Petrovic (-100 kg).
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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