Just one day after Alberta’s Christa Deguchi claimed victory in the under-57 kg weight division, Arthur Margelidon also stepped onto the podium at the Masters Tournament in Jerusalem, Israel. The Montréaler clinched one of the two bronze medals in the under-73 kg division on Wednesday.
“Things went well, but as usual, when it’s not gold, you always want what you don’t have. But ending the year with a medal is good for my confidence and bodes well for the upcoming tournaments!” said Margelidon at the end of his day of competition.
In his final fight of the day, Margelidon scored a waza-ari against Petru Pelivan of Moldova just a few seconds into the match. He retained control over his opponent on the ground for several moments and dominated the contest until the end of four-minute regulation time, even forcing Pelivan to take two penalties.
“I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks, because at that level, the slightest error can result in points against you. I therefore had to stick to my game plan right to the end,” explained Margelidon.
The Québécois’ first three bouts all went into overtime. Margelidon began the tournament with a victory by ippon over Adrian Sulca of Romania in an almost eight-minute bout he called the toughest of his day.
“It was almost two fights in one, but I never felt like I was in danger.”
He then defeated Murodjon Yuldoshev of Uzbekistan by waza-ari. In the semi-final, he suffered his only loss of the day to Daniel Cargnin of Brazil, who later won the gold medal.
“The Brazilian was within my reach, but I made a wrong move,” admitted Margelidon.
Today’s medal is Margelidon’s second in four Masters Tournaments. He won silver in Guangzhou, China, in 2018.
“Now, all that’s left for me is gold!” joked Margelidon, who is ranked seventh internationally in the under-73 kg weight class, and who expressed satisfaction at being back at his pre-Tokyo Olympics level of fitness.
“I’ve been consistent lately, with seventh place at the World Championships, second place at the Baku Grand Slam and a strong tournament in Tokyo (Grand Slam), where I probably could have won a medal.”
In the under-81 kg category, François Gauthier-Drapeau ended his day in Jerusalem with a record of one win and one loss. After defeating Hievorth Manukian of Ukraine, he took on Matthias Casse of Belgium, the second-ranked judoka in the world in the weight class. Casse scored a waza-ari two minutes into the fight and was able to maintain his lead until the end of regulation time.
Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg) ousted Geke Van Den Berg of the Netherlands by ippon in less than two minutes, then bowed out to Gili Sharir of Israel. In the repechage, the runner-up world champion faced Angelika Szymanska of Poland. She lost by ippon and finished seventh.
Three Canadian judokas will compete at the Masters Tournament on Thursday: Kyle Reyes and Shady El Nahas in the under-100 kg group, and Marc Deschênes in the over-100 kg division.