Montréal, November 8, 2022 – Quebec’s Priscilla Gagné put in a good fight at the IBSA Judo World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Tuesday. Gagné, who was unassailable throughout her first three bouts, became the world champion runner-up when she was defeated in the under-57 kg big final.
For the first time ever at the Para Judo World Championships, blind and visually impaired athletes competed in two separate categories to improve parity within the groups.
In the J1 category, Gagné began her day with a quick first-round victory over Larissa Silva of Brazil. The 36-year-old Canadian then maintained her momentum into the quarter-final, where she defeated Liana Mutia of the USA in a hard-fought battle.
In the semi-final, the Tokyo Olympics silver medallist was pitted against Anzhela Havrysiuk of Ukraine. Gagné, who maintained control throughout the bout, defeated her opponent by waza-ari to advance to the big final.
“Priscilla was fantastic in her fights against her American and Ukrainian opponents, and they’re easily two of the best athletes in that category. It was an excellent start to the day,” noted coach Andrzej Sadej.
Dondu Yesilyurt of Turkey was Gagné’s final challenger on Tuesday. Despite her excellent technique and her quick reactions to Yesilyurt’s attacks, the Canadian had to admit defeat and settle for the silver medal.
“Yesilyurt is a former weightlifter, which explains why she’s so physically powerful. Priscilla tried hard, but her opponent was simply stronger. It wasn’t an easy fight, and Priscilla has much to be proud of,” added Sadej.
“She was disappointed at first because she was aiming for gold, but I think she was happy to be on the podium, nonetheless. It was a special competition and she proved that she belongs among her sport’s elite.”
Following a short medical break in the middle of the match, Yesilyurt came back in full force to score a waza-ari on Gagné. Because the manoeuvre was enough to decide the match, Yesilyurt applied a flawless defensive strategy for the remainder of the fight.
In the same category as Gagné, Christina Mowatt finished the day in fifth place after bowing out in the bronze medal final.
The British Columbian began her day with a victory over Paula Gomez Martinez of Argentina before ousting Vanessa Wagner of Germany in only three seconds in the quarter-final.
“I’m proud of Christina’s performance, especially in her first two fights. That quick win of hers was fantastic. We had a game plan and she followed it to the letter. She always found a solution,” noted Sadej.
Mowatt and Yesilyurt met in the semi-finals. The future world champion won the match, relegating Mowatt to one of the bronze medal finals.
In that bout, Liana Mutia defeated Mowatt, who finished the tournament with a record of two wins and two losses.
“These were Christina’s first World Championships, and her fifth place finish is very satisfactory. It’s very encouraging for all of us, and again, I’m really proud of what she accomplished,” concluded Sadej.
The IBSA Judo World Championships will continue in Baku on Wednesday. Canada’s Michelle Jorgenson will be in action.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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