Montréal, June 4, 2022 – Étienne Briand had a day of highs and lows at the Tbilisi Grand Slam on Saturday. After a solid opening win, the Canadian judoka was defeated by a familiar opponent in the third round of the under-81 kg draw.
Briand was up against Zelim Tckaev, an athlete he has faced many times at training camps and who has a unique fighting style. The fiercely contested bout ended in a win for the Azerbaijani.
“I had trained with Tckaev in the past, and I remembered that he was not easy to beat. He has great technique, but his timing is a bit strange. I knew it would be a challenging fight,” said Briand, who was unable to ward off Tckaev’s numerous attacks.
Tckaev made an early impact by scoring a waza-ari in the first minute of the match. He then maintained the intensity before clinching the bout a minute later, knocking Briand to the ground a second time to win by ippon.
“I was really surprised! I wasn’t expecting him to knock me down with the waza-ari, so I was forced to try to catch up. I attempted to grab him from behind, but I couldn’t find an opening, and he was able to take advantage of a mistake I made to score the ippon. I was really shocked,” stated Briand at the end of the day.
Despite his loss, Briand is focusing on the positive moments of the Grand Slam tournament, including his second-round defeat of France’s Tizie Gnamien, another well-known rival.
“I fought really well against him,” said Briand. “He’s also a former training partner of mine, and I was pretty sure I could take him down. He started strong with a waza-ari, but I too was able to score and win by ippon. I executed it well. It was a good fight for me.”
In the grand final, Joonhwan Lee of South Korea defeated Tato Grigalashvili of Georgia to snag the crown. Zelim Tckaev advanced to one of the bronze medal finals, where he bowed out to Sharofiddin Bolaboev of Uzbekistan. Eljan Hajiyev of Azerbaijan rounded out the podium by defeating Italy’s Tiziano Falcone in the other battle for bronze.
As the only Canadian in action in Tbilisi, Briand will take a few days to rest before returning to Canada, where a different kind of challenge awaits him.
“I’ve been gone for almost a month because I had a training camp in Italy, so I’ll have to get caught up on my research pretty quickly,” said Briand, who is pursuing a PhD in economics at UQAM. “I took advantage of the break these past few weeks because I know my studies are going to keep me very busy this summer!”
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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