Jessica Klimkait Wins All-Canadian Final 16 February 2023
Kyle Reyes Clinches Fifth Medal for Canada 19 February 2023
Another Bronze Medal For François Gauthier-Drapeau
Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard soundly defeated four opponents at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam on Friday, capping off her day in the under-63 kg tournament with a gold medal and a smile. A little later, her teammate François Gauthier-Drapeau clinched a bronze medal in the under-81 kg weight category.
Beauchemin-Pinard can now boast having won six Grand Slam medals, including three gold. However, today’s was her first on this circuit since 2021. She therefore savoured each of her victories in Israel. “I was disappointed with my fifth-place finish in Paris, so I’m really happy to have turned things around and made a comeback today,” stated the gold medallist. In the grand final, she defeated Cuba’s Maylin Del Toro Carvajal, who was the one to deprive her of a spot on the third step of the podium two weeks ago, at the Paris Grand Slam. “In going for this medal, I felt a bit like I was avenging myself. I could see the error I had made in Paris, and I didn’t want to let it happen again. I avoided contact with her and I kept my distance. I concentrated on my own judo and on avoiding her traps.” The strategy seems to have paid off. The Québécoise scored a waza-ari by throwing her opponent to the ground a minute and forty seconds into the fight. Then, after several more efforts on the floor, she grabbed Del Toro Carvajal’s arm, forcing her to give up and scoring an ippon for the win. Beauchemin-Pinard, the current runner-up world champion, began the tournament by defeating Anja Obradobic of Serbia by ippon in overtime. She then disposed of Laura Fazliu of Kosovo and Katharina Haecker of Australia by ippon, in less than two minutes each. “My first fight of the day was hard. I had trouble knocking her down, but I found an opening on the ground, which allowed me to win. In my other fights, I was ready for anything! With each of my opponents, I had something to prove, so I’m really happy.”
Bronze for Gauthier-Drapeau Two weeks after winning a bronze medal at the Paris Grand Slam, François Gauthier-Drapeau repeated the feat in Tel Aviv, nabbing the fourth bronze medal of his Grand Slam career. En route to the podium, he defeated Odysseas Georgakis of Cyprus, Bolor-Ochir Gereltuya of Mongolia and Timo Cavelius of Germany. For the Canadian, his victory over Cavelius felt extra sweet, as he had lost to him in their last encounter. “It’s a bit of a bonus! Last time, he beat me in the quarter-final, but this time, I got the upper hand. I found the fight a lot easier. I’m really happy!” In the semi-final, Gauthier-Drapeau lost to Vedat Albayrak of Turkey. However, he finished the day on a high note, defeating Portugal’s Joao Fernando by ippon after two minutes of combat. “The semi-final was a bit of a heartbreaker. I still feel bitter about losing, but I was able to refocus on the bronze medal. It motivated me for my last match,” he explained. “I lacked aggression and speed in the semi-final, so I wanted to get back on track.” Also in action in Israel was Montréal’s Arthur Margelidon, who finished seventh in the under-73 kg category. He was halted in the repechage by Daniel Cargnin of Brazil, who later won a bronze medal. In the same weight division, Antoine Bouchard was eliminated in the first round by Ido Levin of Israel. On Saturday, Canadians Shady ElNahas and Kyle Reyes will compete in the under-100 kg group, while Marc Deschênes will be in action in the over-100 kg division.