Montréal, August 13, 2022 – Saturday, Nikola Petrovic (U-100 kg) was the only Canadian who stepped onto the tatami at the Junior (U-21) World Judo Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The British Columbian won his first bout, but was defeated in the second round, which brought his tournament participation to an abrupt end.
At the start of the day, Petrovic wasted no time defeating Australia’s Axel Nightingale. In the opening moments of the match, the Canadian threw his opponent to the ground for a point, before finishing the job to earn the win a mere few seconds later.
“Nikola was excellent in his first fight, he was very fast. We expected this kind of victory, and we’re very proud of him. He was dominant in that match,” commented Coach Daniela Krukower.
The 18-year-old judoka then moved on to a date with German Kilian Kappelmeier – an athlete Petrovic has defeated in a previous match-up, which gave the Canadian delegation reason to be confident. However, the German was explosive, and Petrovic had no time to adapt to his opponent’s style; Petrovic had to admit defeat after two throws to the ground.
“Nikola’s second fight was more challenging for sure, the German judoka was very well prepared. In a major competition like the Junior World Championships, there are a lot elements that go into an athlete’s preparation. Next time, we’re sure Nikola will do even better,” explained Krukower.
“Nikola wasn’t able to figure out how to counter Kappelmeier’s attacks, and Kappelmeier was more aggressive than Nikola in many respects. I think Nikola was nervous and maybe felt some pressure,” added Coach Sasha Mehmedovic.
In only his first year as a junior, Nikola Petrovic has demonstrated great potential. Mehmedovic sees a lot of potential in the young British Colombian, and believes the future will be very bright for the Burnaby Judo Club athlete.
“Nikola is still very young. He’s got a lot of talent, so he has huge potential. I’m sure that in the next few years he’ll be able to take his abilities up a notch and make it to the podium, one has to be patient, but I think he has what it takes to accomplish his goals,” noted Mehmedovic.
Coaches Daniela Krukower and Sasha Mehmedovic both agree that while Canadian athletes’ performances in Guayaquil fell short of expectations, there’s no need to panic. The coaches see a very bright future for the delegation of athletes who were in Ecuador for the Junior World Championships.
“Of course we would have liked to have better results; we have a lot of work to do, and we had proof of that over the weekend. If we help develop these Canadian judokas the right way, the results will definitely get better,” said Krukower.
“Overall it was a tough weekend; our judokas don’t have a tonne of experience – COVID-19 had a major impact on these athletes. We need to continue to get out of the country to international competitions. We’ve seen some great things from everyone, and we’re ready to get back to work,” concluded Mehmedovic.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada