Montréal, May 19, 2022 – Michelle Jorgenson of Kelowna, BC, shone like a star on day one of the Canadian Open Championships, which got underway Thursday at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex in Montréal.
Jorgensen, who competes in over-63 kg Ne Waza, put in a perfect performance today, defeating Amanda Sousa (Manitoba), Ana Beatriz De Lima Felix (Ontario) and Savannah MacDonald (Ontario) in her three bouts of the day to clinch the gold medal.
However, her workday did not end there. She capped off her tournament by beating Éibhleann Alexander of Ontario to earn the title of Women’s Ne Waza All-Around Champion.
“Everything went really well for me today. I knew the day would be challenging for me, but I was really looking forward to jumping into the action. I was pretty confident that I could win it, but I knew I’d have to beat some tough opponents,” said Jorgensen, following her wins.
Andrzej Sadej, head coach of the Canadian para judo team, is extremely proud of his athlete’s performance and believes she will be one to observe in the next Paralympic cycle.
“I’m very happy with Michelle’s accomplishments today. Because of Covid-19, she had to take a break from judo for the past two years, but she wasn’t intimidated when she came back in January. She’s definitely a strong contender for the Paris Games in 2024.”
In the other women’s Ne Waza category on Thursday, Ontario’s Éibhleann Alexander took top honours in the under-63 kg group after defeating Désirée Lussier-Lévesque of Quebec and Mariko Glover of British Columbia.
Successful return to competition for Vitaliy Polyanskyy
In men’s Ne Waza, Vitaliy Polyanskyy (Ontario) was thrilled to be back on the tatamis for the first time since 2018, after undergoing knee surgery, which was followed by the pandemic.
The Ukrainian-born judoka did not appear too rusty as he won all four of his fights in the over-81 kg (senior) division before defeating Solomon Choran of Quebec to be named all-around champion.
“I’m not a young guy anymore. I’m so tired! It’s been hard to be away from competition for these past few years. I feel good though. I really pushed myself. I often get asked why I was so determined to get back to competing. The answer is simple: I love judo!” explained the 41-year-old at the end of his day.
In other categories, Eli Grant of British Columbia won the under-66 kg (senior) competition, while Kevin Ban of Ontario won both his fights against John Price of Ontario to be named winner of the under-66 kg (veteran) category.
Amro Boray of New Brunswick (-81 kg, veteran), Solomon Choran of Quebec (-81 kg, senior) and Craig Coughlan of Alberta (+81 kg, senior) were crowned champions of their respective categories.
Big plans for Shane Rooney and Bailey Hu
In Kata, Shane Rooney and Bailey Hu ruled the day, ending the competition with two gold medals. They took top honours in Katame No Kata, with a total of 443 points, before repeating the feat in Nage No Kata, where they scored 418 points.
“We performed really well today to win those two gold medals. We definitely wanted to finish the day in the top spot. To prepare for the Canadian Open Championships, we worked on managing our stress. All the pieces were in place for us to get good results,” stated Rooney.
With today’s victories, Rooney and Hu secured their tickets to the World Championships, which will be held in Poland in September. The duo, who are ranked fourth in the world, have their sights set on the podium at that tournament.
“We have enough time to fine-tune our techniques for the World Championships, and we have a training camp coming up in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in the next few weeks. In Poland, our main goal is to hear the Canadian anthem at the end of the competition,” said Rooney, who has been training with his partner in Ottawa since 2018.
The other Kata winners (by category) were:
The Canadian Open Championships will continue until Sunday at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada