Canada’s Lasha Tsatsalashvili (-73 kg) had a good day at work on Friday at the Cadet World Judo Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Ontarian won his first two duels, en route to a seventh-place finish.
After taking advantage of a first-round bye, Tsatsalashvili defeated Naser Ashour of Kuwait in his first fight of the day. He then continued his momentum by defeating Bosnia’s Dimitrije Savic in the third round.
“Lasha fought extremely well. He easily won his first fight and had to work harder in his second to win. He faced a lot of adversity, and he came out on top,” said Canadian coach Alexandre Émond.
Tsatsalashvili’s gold medal chances were annihilated in the next round when he was beaten by Georgian Luka Javakhishvili, who went on to win silver. Tsatsalashvili led the scoring with about ten seconds to go, but he was punished on two occasions which gave the victory to his opponent.
In the draft, the Ontarian crossed paths with Antonio Medeiros Neto of Brazil. The latter, however, defeated Tsatsalashvili.
“I don’t know if he was unlucky or if we mismanaged the fight, but it all came down to the two penalties in the final seconds in his first loss. I do not know what exactly happened. This defeat certainly played in his head during his draft fight,” Émond explained.
In the same category, Quebecer Jérémie Ngombi ended with a record of one win and one loss. He defeated Abdulmalik Maimani of Saudi Arabia before losing to Kazakhstan’s Akbar Altay.
“Jérémie had a good first fight against a very solid opponent. The Kazakh was better than him in the second round, but if we had to do the fight again, maybe it would go in Jeremiah’s favor,” added the coach.
The other two Canadians in action on Friday, Samson Gill (-81 kg) and Binyamin Soloveichik (-81 kg) did not find their way to victory, losing in their first fight of the day.
On the women’s side, Callie Render (-63 kg) and Aliya Koliaska (-57 kg) both won their first fights. The Canadians then lost in the next round; however, they left a good impression on their coach.
“Callie won by forfeit in her first fight and Aliya delivered a strong performance from the start. She might have been able to win her second fight as well. There were some mistakes, but a lot of positive things came out of today for Callie and Aliya.”
As for Dakota Sanzana (-63 kg), she was beaten in her first duel against Sinem Oruc of Turkey who went on to win gold.
“Dakota fought really well, she was very intense, but she got caught on the ground. The draw was clearly not in her favor: starting the day with such a tough opponent is not always easy. It’s a shame,” Émond concluded.
In action on Thursday, Leann Huang (-52 kg) ended her day with a win and a loss. She defeated Greece’s Fani Prifti before losing in the next round to American Nicole Cancela.
Kiera Burt (-70 kg), Brandi Lingley (+70 kg), Marianne Karas (+70 kg), Yonatan Soloveichik (-90 kg) and John Jr Messe A Bessong (+90 kg) will be the five Canadians in action on Saturday at the Cadet World Championships.