Montréal, May 20, 2022 – Brothers Lasha and Luka Tsatsalashvili of Ontario won gold medals in their respective categories on Friday, on day two of the Canadian Open Championships, which are being held at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex in Montréal.
After receiving a bye in the first round, Lasha defeated Sunny Brochu of Quebec, Nathan Brehaut of Alberta and Léopol Morin of Quebec back-to-back to advance to the gold medal final in the under-73 kg group.
He continued his winning streak in the final match, beating Arthur Karpukov of Quebec to clinch the medal. As a result of his victory, Tsatsalashvili will have the chance to participate in the Cadet World Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in August.
“I’m extremely proud of my win. It wasn’t a terribly hard day, since after competing in Europe, I was well prepared for the Canadian Open. I fully intend to make it to the top of the podium in Sarajevo,” said Lasha, following the medal ceremony.
“Lasha won his division title pretty quickly. He’s one of our top prospects and we’re glad he had a good day here in Montréal. He was very dominant and he’ll be one to watch in Sarajevo,” said national U18 coach Alexandre Émond.
Like his older brother, Luka Tsatsalashvili performed brilliantly in his first three bouts before beating Raphael Gaanan of British Columbia in the final. His friends and family were thrilled.
“I was even happier to see Luka win than I was about winning my own match,” said Lasha.
“This is the first time Luka has won a tournament of this size. There’s always room for improvement, but we’re clearly headed in the right direction,” added coach Émond.
Also in the under-18 age group, John Jr. Messé A Bessong fulfilled expectations by taking top honours in the over 90-kg category. The Québécois, who won gold at the Zagreb European Cup in March, defeated Corban Taylor of Saskatchewan in the final, claiming the highest spot on the podium.
Messé A Bessong will be back in action on Sunday, where he will fight for a second gold medal in the senior division.
“John was never in any danger today. You can see that he’s a notch above everyone else. We’re confident that he can also win at the senior level,” said Émond.
An unexpected gold medal for Dakota Sanzana
Also in U18 action, Dakota Sanzana of New Brunswick pulled off a surprise victory today, claiming the top spot in the under-63 kg class. However, the road to the podium was not easy. In her last two bouts, Sanzana was pitted against Albertans Callie Render, who is ranked number one in Canada in the category, and Maralgoo Batbayar.
“Dakota was not favoured to win the under-63 kg division, so it was a nice surprise. She performed very well all day. She’s in a tough category but she did well. She’ll probably be one to watch in the near future,” said Émond.
In the under-48 kg weight class, Charlize Medilo (Alberta) also won gold, thanks to a solid performance. She began by defeating Kylee Esparbes and Abigail Sheehan, both of British Columbia, in the pool round.
Next, she beat Monica Ortiz of Quebec in the semi-final, before edging out Léanne Dussault of Quebec in the gold medal bout.
“I’m very proud of my accomplishments today. I’ve had a minor injury for the past few months, so I’m glad to see that my body is recovering well. I took my training seriously, and now I’m looking ahead to Sarajevo, where I’d like to make it to the podium,” said Medilo, following the competition.
The tournament will resume on Saturday with the U16 and U21 events.
All Canadian Open Championships results can be viewed on the Judo Canada website.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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