Montréal, October 9, 2022 – It may take a few days, but Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard knows she will eventually savour her title of world championship runner-up, which she earned on Sunday in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Canadian, ranked third in the world by the International Judo Federation (IJF), had a perfect run to the under-63 kg big final, where she faced Megumi Horikawa of Japan, whom she had never managed to defeat in competition.
Beauchemin-Pinard left little doubt as to her intentions as she came out of the gate with a series of attacks on her opponent, who managed to fend off each of her advances. “I knew that fight was within my reach. I had a game plan, and I tried to impose my own judo without letting her take control,” explained the Québécoise, following the tournament.
Beauchemin-Pinard maintained the pressure on Horikawa throughout the match. However, Horikawa was not about to give in easily, and when the Canadian took a momentary breather, Horikawa grabbed the opportunity to lay down her own law. She scored an ippon in the final second of the four minutes of regulation time to claim the title.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all! I know her a little, and I’m familiar with her technique. Throughout the fight, I was able to block her, but her technique got the best of me at the very end, when I had gotten a bit tired,” admitted Beauchemin-Pinard, adding that the fight could have gone either way.
“It was between two high-level competitors who were pushing themselves hard. At one point, on the ground, I came close to scoring, but wasn’t able to. That’s how it goes. I’m happy with my result, but right now, I’m mostly feeling the bitterness of defeat. A silver medal is always a bit hard to take, and it might take a few days before I feel good about it.”
Earlier in the day, Beauchemin-Pinard had expeditiously decided her first three bouts, winning by ippon in under 70 seconds each time. Audrey Jeanette Etoua Biock of Cameroon, Iva Oberan of Croatia and Renata Zachova of the Czech Republic, respectively, all received a taste of the Canadian’s medicine.
Next up was Manon Deketer of France in the semi-final. In that round, Beauchemin-Pinard needed a little over two minutes to oust her opponent and secure her spot in the final. Following the advice of her coach Antoine Valois-Fortier, she bided her time before cracking her opponent’s defenses and winning by ippon after a long hold.
“I knew she was strong, and that I had to block her transitions, so that’s exactly what I did. Then I got a chance to hold her on the ground, and I made sure to use it to my full advantage,” explained Beauchemin-Pinard.
The new title of world champion runner-up joins an already impressive list of achievements for the 28-year-old judoka, who has now won medals in all types of competitions, from Grand Slams to the Olympic Games, as well as the World Championships. All of which is enough to please her, and possibly even inspire her to pursue her sports career until the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“When I won my bronze medal at the Olympics, I knew I wanted to keep competing for at least another year so that I could win the one medal I didn’t have, a World Championships medal. I’m happy to say that I did it, I achieved my goal. It definitely makes me feel like trying for the gold medal, but I’m going to take it one step at a time. I’ll start by decompressing a little and taking some vacation time, so that when I come back, I feel strong,” she concluded with a laugh before turning her attention to the many messages awaiting her on her cell phone.
The only other Canadian in competition on Sunday was François Gauthier-Drapeau. He did not obtain the results he had hoped for at his first senior-level World Championships. In his first fight of the day, he bowed out to Somon Makhmadbekov of Tajikistan, who won the under-81 kg match by waza-ari.
“Of course it’s disappointing for François,” noted Valois-Fortier at the end of the day. “He had a pretty difficult draw from the start, against a left-handed opponent. He struggles against that type of opponent, so he’ll have to keep working to find solutions for facing left-handers.”
No Canadians will be in action on Monday, when the women’s under-70 kg and the men’s under-90 kg competitions will take place. Shady El Nahas and Kyle Reyes willbe the next Canadians to hit the tatamis in Tashkent in Tuesday’s under-100 kg tournament.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada