Montréal, July 16, 2022 – After a tough weekend in Budapest, Hungary, last week, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard was eager to get back on track, and she did so in fine fashion at the Zagreb Grand Prix in Croatia, finishing on top of the podium Saturday in the under-63 kg category.
“It feels good to be back on the podium, especially after a tough week like last week. I wanted to put it behind me quickly and make a strong comeback. I knew what had gone badly last week. Today, I really wanted to perform consistently to win the gold medal,” said Beauchemin-Pinard.
The Montrealer’s toughest match was her semi-final face-off against Brazil’s Ketleyn Quadros. Beauchemin-Pinard scored a waza-ari a minute and 20 seconds into the bout and was able to maintain her lead until the end of regulation time.
“I grabbed an opportunity to score early in the fight. After that, I had to stay focused to maintain my lead. I fought Quadros in the Olympics, so I’ve started to get to know her. I knew she wouldn’t be an easy opponent, but that it was possible to beat her.”
Anriquelis Barrios was scheduled to face Beauchemin-Pinard in the final, but an injury in the semi-finals sidelined the Colombian and the victory went to the Canadian.
After receiving a bye in the first round, Beauchemin-Pinard had to battle hard in her two preliminary round bouts. She began by soundly defeating Joanne Van Lieshout of the Netherlands in her first match before securing her place in the semi-finals by edging out Gankhaich Bold of Mongolia in overtime.
“I have more experience than Van Lieshout and I think that showed. I stayed in control from start to finish, even though she showed some good technique. When it came to Bold, I had beaten her last week, but I didn’t want to fall into the trap of being complacent. I made sure to stay in the moment, I followed my game plan and I fought pushed hard in overtime to win,” explained Beauchemin-Pinard.
“These tournaments are very competitive. Over the past few months, several young athletes have started to make their mark, so it’s very motivating for me to win a gold medal in this type of environment. It’s good preparation for the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships,” she added.
Ontario’s Mohab El Nahas was the only other Canadian to win at least one bout in Zagreb on Saturday. In the under-81 kg weight division, El Nahas defeated Israel’s Iftach Badash in the first round before bowing out to Germany’s Tim Gramkow in the next.
In the same weight class as El Nahas, François Gauthier-Drapeau lost his first match of the day to Joao Fernando of Portugal.
In the under-73 kg group, Arthur Margelidon lost his first fight of the day to Adil Osmanov of Moldova.
The Zagreb Grand Prix will continue on Sunday. Shady El Nahas and Kyle Reyes will hit the tatamis in the under-100 kg category.
Good day for Isabelle Harris in Winterthur
Isabelle Harris (-63 kg) put in the best performance by a Canadian at the Senior European Cup in Winterthur, Switzerland. She finished the day with a bronze medal around her neck after defeating Maria Oliver Ferra of Spain.
The Canadian came out strong early in the day, beating Britain’s Jasmine Hacker-Jones in her first fight. However, her hopes of winning the gold medal were dashed in the next round, when she lost to Germany’s Vivian Herrmann, who later went to on claim the top spot on the podium.
Harris kept her wits about her in the repechage, where she defeated Switzerland’s Chiara Friden before moving on to face Ferra in the bronze medal final.
Joel DeMaere (-60 kg) ended the day with a record of one win and one loss, while Justin Lemire (-73 kg) lost his only bout of the day.
In the under-52 kg group, Launa Hinton lost both her fights.
The Winterthur Senior European Cup continues on Sunday.
Six Canadians win bouts in Paks
Of the eight Canadians in action at the Junior European Cup in Paks, Hungary, on Saturday, six of them got a taste of victory in their first bouts of the day.
In the under-66 kg pool, Yanis Hachemi and Frederic De Cardaillac won their respective first fights, before bowing out in the next. In the under-73 kg group, Jumber Meladze met the same fate.
In the same weight division as Meladze, Munkhjin Batdorj had a chance to recover in the repechage after a 1-1 result in the pool rounds. However, he was defeated by Germany’s Philip Drexler in his repechage match. Gunner Floyd (-73 kg) lost his first and only fight of the day.
On the women’s side, three Canadians fought in the under-70 kg category. Brae Booth and Laurence Biron won their respective first bouts but did not make it past the next round. Justine Simard received a first-round bye but lost in the next round, only to be defeated again in the repechage.
The action will continue in Paks on Sunday, where several Canadians will hit the tatamis.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada