Lasha Tsatsalashvili earns silver in Paris 7 May 2023
Elimination and Incomprehension 8 May 2023
John Jr Messe A Bessong was Canada’s highest-achieving judoka today, on the final day of the Paris Junior European Cup with a fifth-place ranking in the Over 100kg class. Messe A Bessong, the 2022 Cadet World Champion, now takes on judokas in the junior category and today went into one of two bronze medal bouts where he was defeated by Germany’s Daniel Udsilauri on penalties.
The Quebec native got off to a great start when he defeated France’s Sami Ramdani and then Germany’s Nikita Nikitenko – the latter an opponent who had defeated him earlier this year. Once in the semi-finals, Messe A Bessong came up against Azerbaijan’s Kanan Nasibov, who would go on to claim gold Sunday. “The Azerbaijani athlete was very tactical against John; he didn’t throw or pin him, but instead made John beat himself because he was forced to take three penalties. John was not able to respond,” said Canadian Coach Sasha Mehmedovic. Mehmedovic, a participant in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, then saw a similar scenario play out for his protégé, this time on the tatami against Germany’s Daniel Udsilauri in the bronze medal match. “John made some tactical mistakes and couldn’t adapt to his opponent’s style and lost again by penalties. Yet despite that, he fought well today and started his day strong,” noted the Team Canada coach. On the women’s tatami, Evelyn Beaton (-52 kg) finished her day with a 1-2 record. After defeating Brazil’s Giovana Shimada, the Albertan was defeated in the quarter-finals by Japanese judoka and eventual gold medalist Rin Kamiya. Once in the repechage draw, the 18-year-old lost to Germany’s Lena Djeriou. Marie-Lune Turmel (-48 kg), Yehor Paladii (-81 kg) and Alec Garand (-90 kg) were sadly all defeated in their only bouts of the day. As this very full weekend of judo action comes to a close, Team Canada will take home some hardware and solid rankings from the French capital: a silver medal, a fifth, and a seventh place. Saturday, Ontario’s Lasha Tsatsalashvili earned himself a silver medal in the Under 73 kg category; that same day in women’s judo, Québec’s Laurence Biron finished seventh in the Under 70 kg class. “On Saturday, Lasha showed that he is very strong – strong enough to grab that silver medal. This is his first year in junior, so to finish second in such a high-level competition is pretty impressive,” commented Coach Mehmedovic. “Laurence is improving her prowess with each tournament. We have depth on the team, and a group of athletes who are steadily revealing their potential. As a coach, I’m happy to see that. The talent is here, and we have to keep training,” he concluded.