Montréal, July 9, 2022 – The day after Ontario’s Jessica Klimkait won a bronze medal in the under-57 kg weight category at the Grand Slam in Hungary, François Gauthier-Drapeau had a chance to do the same, having earned a spot in one of the two bronze medal finals in the under-81 kg group.
However, the athlete from Alma, QC, lost by waza-ari to Nugzari Tatalashvili of the United Arab Emirates, thus finishing fifth in Budapest on Saturday.
“It was a bit of a heartbreaker. I fought well but wasn’t able to win. It’s disappointing. Still, there are a few things today that I’m proud of, so that’s positive. […] My coach (Antoine Valois-Fortier) told me I fought well for three minutes and 50 seconds, and that it was the 10 seconds where my opponent scored that cost me the match.”
Tatalashvili scored about 90 seconds into the bout by knocking down the Québécois, who was not able to control his fall. From that point on, Gauthier-Drapeau did not let up. However, a forced break lasting several minutes disrupted his momentum, when Tatalashvili had one of his fingers examined.
Upon resumption of the match, the Canadian poured all his energy into the last minute of competition, but his opponent managed to prevent him from scoring, thus securing his spot on the podium.
Earlier, Gauthier-Drapeau had defeated Nicon Zaborosciuc of Moldova by waza-ari.
In the quarter-final, his loss to eventual gold medallist Guilherme Schmidt of Brazil relegated him to the repechage.
“Last time we fought, I beat him,” said Gauthier-Drapeau. “Losing to a guy I know I can beat was another big disappointment. But he won the gold medal today, so I’ll console myself with that.”
In his other matches, Gauthier-Drapeau bested Tiziano Falcone of Italy and Barak Arkabay of Kazakhstan, both by waza-ari.
Since the beginning of his career, Gauthier-Drapeau has won two Grand Slam bronze medals, and he is aware that his exclusion from the podium today should not be considered a failure on his part.
“It’s still a good result. It was my first Olympic qualification tournament, and I earned points with my fifth-place finish, so I’m happy with that.”
Also in the under-81 kg pool, Mohab El Nahas of Ontario was ousted by ippon in overtime by France’s Nicolas Chilard in his first bout of the day.
Overtime unkind to Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard
Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg) finished the day with one win and two losses, earning her the seventh-place spot.
The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist ended her day in the repechage following her overtime loss to Maylin Del Toro Carvajal of Cuba.
Earlier on Saturday, she had defeated Gankhaich Bold of Mongolia before bowing out to Angelika Szymanska of Poland, also in overtime.
No Canadians will be in action on Sunday. The national team will now head to Zagreb to compete in a Grand Prix tournament.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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