Bronze for Priscilla Gagné in Portugal 31 January 2023
Rapidly Progressing François Gauthier-Drapeau Third in ParisTitle 6 February 2023
Canadian Wins Silver at Paris Grand Slam
In her return to action following a shoulder injury,
Jessica Klimkait picked up right where she had left off at the prestigious Paris Grand Slam on Saturday. The Canadian finished her day on the second step of the podium in the French capital, after winning her tenth consecutive medal in international competition.
In her grand final match, Klimkait faced not only her opponent Priscilla Gneto of France, but also the Parisian crowd. “The crowd was really noisy. You could tell it was an important fight. When we started, I focused all my energy and attention on my judo. I didn’t worry about what the spectators did or said,” explained Klimkait. The Ontarian battled fiercely from start to finish, and although she gave her adversary a real run for her money, Gneto succeeded in blocking Klimkait on several occasions. The two judokas had received two penalties each before the match went into Golden Score. One minute and 46 seconds into overtime, Gneto clinched the win when Klimkait received a third shido. “I was trying to score points, whereas she was trying to force me to take penalties. Clearly, she was using a specific tactic, and I wish I had realized that during the fight, so I could have adjusted my own,” said the Olympic medallist, who recently stepped back from competition for a few weeks to allow her shoulder to heal. “I only recently decided to train for the Paris Grand Slam. Considering the circumstances, I’m glad I came here and I’m glad I finished on the podium.” Klimkait now has eleven Grand Slam medals in her collection. On Saturday, she began her day in the under-57 kg weight class with a victory over Altantsetseg Batsukh of the United Arab Emirates, followed by another over Seija Ballahaus of Germany. She then defeated Daria Bilodid of Ukraine before edging out Haruka Funakubo of Japan in the semi-final. “I’m proud of my consistency, which gives me confidence, but today, things were a bit up and down, so I still have areas for improvement,” explained the most recent World Championships bronze medallist. Fifth place for Margelidon and Beauchemin-Pinard Two other Canadians fought for spots on the podium in Paris on Saturday. After receiving a bye in the first round, Arthur Margelidon defeated Benjamin Axus of France, Adam Stodolski of Poland and Petru Pelivan of Moldova in the under-73 kg category. However, the wind was knocked out of the 29-year-old athlete’s sails in the semi-final by Daniel Cargnin of Brazil, just as it was in their last meeting at the Masters Tournament in Jerusalem in December. After Margelidon received two penalties for non-combativity, Cargnin scored a waza-ari with less than 30 seconds to go in the match. He later won the gold medal after defeating Lasha Shavdatuashvili of Georgia. As for Margelidon, he advanced to one of the bronze medal finals, where he lost by waza-ari to Daniyar Shamshayev of Kazakhstan. Like her teammate Margelidon, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard also ended the day at the foot of the podium on Saturday. The world championship runner-up defeated Lubjana Piovesana of Austria and Laura Fazliu of Kosovo before bowing out to Gili Sharir of Israel in a hotly contested match that went into overtime. In the repechage, Beauchemin-Pinard once again found herself in overtime. In this case, however, she retained the upper hand over Anriquelis Barrios of Venezuela. In her final match of the day, the Canadian was pitted against Maylin Del Toro Carvajal of Cuba. Fifty seconds into the bout, she attempted to lift her opponent, but Del Toro Carvajal turned the situation to her own advantage, knocking Beauchemin-Pinard to the ground to score an ippon for the win. The Paris Grand Slam will continue on Sunday. Four Canadians will be in action: François Gauthier-Drapeau and Étienne Briand (under-81 kg), Shady El Nahas (under-100 kg) and Marc Deschênes, (over-100 kg).