Montréal, May 21, 2022 – Saturday, day three of the Canadian Open Championships, was full of surprises at Montréal’s Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard. In the U21 category, some judokas were busy reaffirming their top rankings in Canada, while other athletes took the opportunity to surprise fans and fellow competitors alike – and make names for themselves.
Heading into the -52 kg competition, Alberta’s Evelyn Beaton already had five national titles to her credit, and she easily made her way to the grand finale in her category.
After victories over Leann Huang (Saskatchewan) and Rakiia Lolieva (British Columbia), in the gold medal bout, Beaton faced long-time rival, Québec’s Amélie Grenier.
Determined to triumph once again, the 17-year-old Albertan quickly scored a waza-ari and put pressure on her opponent. She then turned up the heat, and continued to dictate the pace of the bout, landing several attacks, all while remaining in control of the mat. She finally put an end to the match by tossing Grenier to the ground, and winning by ippon – thereby securing her sixth Canadian title.
“My goal was to follow my game plan and to use what I practise during training. In the final, I knew I had to be careful and smart, so I focused on ensuring good holds. My strategy worked and I’m very happy to win in my first U21-cat appearance,” commented Beaton after her final.
Beaton’s performance didn’t go unnoticed by Sasha Mehmedovic, who’s already had the chance to work with the judoka in international junior competitions. “Evelyn was really dominant today and she really demonstrated that she’s the best in her class. She executed well on the mat, and gave the other girls no chance. She really deserves this title,” Mehmedovic commented.
Beaton will take to the tatami again Sunday and demonstrate her skills in the senior category. Day four’s competitions will be another great opportunity for her to aim for a podium finish, all while preparing for August’s World Juniors – where the Alberta native has big intentions.
“I’ll focus on tomorrow’s tournament, and then my next big goal is to win the World Junior Championships in Guayaquil. I know what I can do, and I’m going to be ready for it,” she said confidently.
Soloveichik earns two in two
Yonatan Soloveichik (-90 kg) is another judoka who continued to make a name for himself at Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard on Saturday. Less than 24 hours after being crowned U18 Canadian Champion, the Ontario native repeated the feat – this time in the U21 category.
“He was very impressive – we didn’t really expect him to win,” said Mehmedovic after the tournament. “Honestly, he surprised everyone, but it was a very well-deserved victory – he really demonstrated talent on the mat.”
Even when facing older, more experienced opponents, 15-year-old Soloveichik didn’t flinch. He won all three of his fights – including the final against Ontario’s Amr Abd Elrehim.
“It was very difficult because I was outranked, but I was able to follow my strategy. I knew I still had a chance, so I adapted my strategies to my opponents. I’m very happy with my bouts, and it proves to me that I can aim even higher,” said the judoka who will represent Canada at the World Judo Cadet Championships in Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) in August.
Rewarding experiences in U16 competitions
There was also plenty of action in the U16 category, with national titles at stake in a whopping 16 different categories. Even thought this was many athletes’ first national tournament, they demonstrated the full extent of their talent in front of an enthralled and engaged crowd.
“At this age, judokas are really developing their skills, which makes for some really exciting matches. There’s a little less strategy – and a lot of attacking – so it’s a great show! We’ve had some very strong bouts, and a very solid level of judo skills, and I think every athlete will come out stronger after having had their first national-level experience,” commented coach Alexandre Émond, post-competition.
Several next-generation judokas distinguished themselves on the tatami today. That was indeed the case with Québec’s Missy Jen Dorval-Mbele (-70 kg) and Angelo Tematieu (+73 kg), who each won every bout in their rise to the top of the podium in their respective categories.
“It was quite different from the other tournaments I normally do, but it went very well. My goal was to become Canadian Champion and it finally happened! Judo is my passion, and I can’t wait to keep getting better and advancing,” noted Dorval-Mbele after the medals ceremony.
His own victory served as extra motivation for Tematieu, who said he was “super pumped!” after his triumph. “It all went really well for me today. I’m always ready to get to it on the tatami, and this medal just encourages me to keep training hard so I can win more!”
It wasn’t just spectators who noted the magic moves and hard work demonstrated by Missy Jen Dorval-Mbele and Angelo Tematieu; Coach Alexandre Émond’s attention – and admiration – was also drawn to the two young judokas.
“They were both very dominant today. I already knew Missy Jen, and she certainly once again proved that she’s very mature for her age, and that she’s got excellent technique. As for Angelo, I’d never seen him before, but he’s very athletic for his age (15) and he’s definitely showing great things,” Émond concluded.
Youth will make way for experience on Sunday – the last day of the event – as Senior-cat judokas take to the tatami mats of Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard as they, too, strive to win national titles.
All Canadian Open Championships results can be viewed on the Judo Canada website.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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