Montréal, July 2, 2022 – At the Parajudo Grand Prix in São Paulo, Brazil, a new tournament format was featured, which divided visually impaired and blind athletes into two separate categories. Priscilla Gagné of Montréal, QC, was one of the stars of this historic event. The Québécoise won the gold medal in the under-57 kg weight category.
The competition was held in round robin format, and Gagné performed perfectly in her three bouts, winning all of them by ippon.
“It was interesting to compete in a tournament where there was no semi-final or final. For each bout, the stakes felt different. The fact that we were all completely blind changed things. It was a new experience, and to me, it felt positive,” said Gagné.
Gagné began her day by defeating Brazil’s Larissa Silva before ousting Benilce Lourenco. In her third fight, she bested Paula Gomez Martinez of Argentina.
“It went well. I stayed calm all day. I didn’t feel any pressure, and I wanted to assess my opponents properly. I was a bit alarmed this morning because I weighed in at only 53 kg, making me one of the smallest competitors. But I followed my coach Andrzej Sadej’s advice, and things went fine,” added Gagné.
In the same weight class, Christina Mowatt of Burnaby, BC, was not quite as successful as her compatriot. She lost her three matches against the same three opponents as Gagné.
On Sunday, Michelle Jorgensen (Kelowna, BC) will be the only Canadian in action.
“I’m happy to see new judokas from all over the world, and I’m happy for Christina, who worked really hard. Tomorrow we’ll cheer Michelle on! We’re one big family here,” Gagné concluded.
Fifth place for Joel DeMaere
At the European Open in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Joel DeMaere of Montréal obtained the best Canadian result of the day, finishing fifth in the under-60 kg category.
The Québécois’s day started off well, with a first-round victory over Alessio Murrone of Germany. However, his next bout, against Nazir Talibov of Azerbaijan, proved a little more difficult. Talibov defeated DeMaere before pursuing his winning streak all the way to the top of the podium.
“Joel was excellent in his first fight, but in his second bout, his opponent from Azerbaijan was very solid. Despite Joel’s best efforts to come back from behind, [Talibov] controlled the entire match. [Joel] could feel the blows coming, but he wasn’t able to block them,” said coach Janusz Pawlowski.
The 20-year-old Canadian judoka got back on track in the repechage, where he defeated Romania’s Alexandru Matei to advance to the bronze medal final. However, he was unable to prevail over Chong-You Lin of Taiwan, and he ended the day in fifth place.
“His last bout of the day was over quickly because his opponent went all-in. I think Joel could have fought more offensively. He was very good in the two matches he won, but there’s still work to do,” added Pawlowski.
In the under-66 kg group, Hakim Chala (Montréal, QC) recorded one win and one loss. In the first round, he defeated Miad Nosrati, who is a member of the International Judo Federation refugee team. Chala’s day came to an end in his bout against Elchin Huseynov of Azerbaijan.
“Hakim was strong in his first fight, but he seemed to be caught off-guard by the judoka from Azerbaijan. Our athletes will gain more experience in the upcoming tournaments. There were some high points today, but there are several areas that still need work,” said the coach.
Justin Lemire (Rawdon, QC) did not win any matches in Romania. He lost his first fight of the day in the under-73 kg category to Alexander Bernd Gabler of Germany.
Like Lemire, Isabelle Harris of Montréal (-63 kg) was defeated in the first round by Germany’s Malin Fischer and did not rank. She appeared to be bothered by a neck injury during her fight.
The Cluj-Napoca European Open will continue on Sunday. Keagan Young (-90 kg), Alexandre Arencibia (-90 kg), Ian Ryder (-100 kg), Coralie Godbout (-78 kg) and Adriana Portuondo-Isasi (+78 kg) will all be in action for Canada.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada