Kyle Reyes (-100 kg) finished off the Masters Tournament in Jerusalem this Thursday in seventh place, as the highest-ranked Canadian. Shady ElNahas (-100 kg) and Marc Deschênes (+100 kg) both had their respective days come to an end after losing their first matches.
Reyes kicked off his day in fine form, with back-to-back wins over Uzbek judoka Otabek Turaboev, and then Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani. However, when Reyes faced off against Dutch national – and eventual silver medalist – Simeon Catharina, the Canuck was sent to the repechage, after suffering a waza-ari.
The Canadian, who was a silver medallist at the World Championships last October, was then defeated by an ippon dolled out by Zelym Kotsoiev of Azerbaijan, shortly before the three-minute mark of the bout on the tatami. Kotsoiev would end up finishing his day on the third step of the podium.
“Kyle now has to learn to deal with his status – he’s a favorite now, and he’s one of the most studied athletes in his category. It’s tricky, but I believe he’s gradually learning how to manage that,” acknowledged Coach Antoine-Valois-Fortier.
“It wasn’t an amazing or marvellous day for Kyle,” the experienced coach continued. “Surely, he’s going to feel disappointment, but really, this kind of day is all a part of the learning curve on the long road to the next Olympics. That being said, we saw some great things from him (Thursday). [….] I think he may have hurt his ankle in one of the previous bouts, and as a result, he seemed a little less sharp (at the end of the day). […] However, he won his first two fights against tough opponents. It wasn’t an easy day, but overall he handled it very well.”
Ontario’s Shady ElNahas was defeated in his first fight against Spain’s Nikoloz Sherazadishvili. ElNahas folded to his opponent’s waza-ari – but note that Sherazadishvili was the 2018 and 2021 World Under 90 kg champion, so no easy foe.
“I think this was the third time the two had faced each other on the tatami this year, and they both had won a bout each. Several times Shady came very close to scoring against his opponent, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to succeed this time,” analyzed Coach Valois-Fortier, adding that ElNahas’s preparation in recent weeks has been slowed down by an ankle injury.
As for Marc Deschênes, Austrian Daniel Allerstorfer got the better of the Québec native. After three penalties, sadly Deschênes was eliminated, and his day over.
After three days of exciting judo action on the tatami, Team Canada leaves Jerusalem with one gold and one bronze medal, and many lessons learned.
“We’re not going to rest on our laurels; I think there are several athletes who were just a few small details away from going further in the competition,” noted Coach Valois-Fortier.