Progress is evident for François Gauthier-Drapeau 11 May 2023
Frustration on the tatami for Canadian judokas at Worlds 12 May 2023
May 11, 2023 – Only four months after returning to training,
Louis Krieber-Gagnon stepped onto the tatami at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, where he finished with a record of one win and one loss in the Under 90 kg category. This was the Quebecer’s first World Championships appearance since 2018.
Krieber-Gagnon emerged victorious from his duel with Caramnob Sagaipov (Lebanon) in the first round; after over six minutes of fighting, the Canadian managed to throw Sagaipov to the ground to score a waza-ari. “I was happy to win, and it was a good bout, strategically speaking. At the end, we were both tired and I forced him to take a second shido. He took more risks, and I took advantage of an opening to score,” commented Louis-Krieber Gagnon. National Team Coach Antoine Valois-Fortier added, “Sagaipov is an athlete who’s been making a name for himself on the international scene lately. Louis put up a very good fight, and was able to keep his composure from start to finish.” Krieber-Gagnon then had a date with Mansur Lorsanov; once again, the bout went into overtime to determine a winner. The Canadian’s attack at the onset of overtime was countered by Lorsanov, who then managed to fight back to save himself for the win. In terms of the overall podium, Luka Maisuradze (Georgia) was crowned the World Champion in the Under-90 kg class, defeating fellow countryman Lasha Bekauri in the final. Bronze medals were awarded to Marcus Nyman (Sweden) and Sanshiro Murao (Japan). Return after injury Louis Krieber-Gagnon suffered a shoulder injury at last year’s Pan American Championships and underwent surgery in July – sidelining him from judo for a long period afterwards. He returned to training in January, and then was able to take to the tatami in competitions in March, motivated to continue progressing on the international scene. “Louis is progressing well, and is headed in the right direction. We’re close to a major breakthrough,” said Valois-Fortier. The judoka agrees, and notes that his experience at Worlds this year has proven that he has what it takes to be among the world’s elite. “I’m disappointed that I lost the second bout, but I can also see that I’m not missing all that much. I wasn’t dominated during that loss, and on top of it, my opponent had already won a Grand Slam in 2021. It’s motivating and it shows that I have my place, that I’m at the right level. I still have some work to do, but I’ll be able to make podiums at big competitions,” shared an encouraged Krieber-Gagnon. The last Canadians in action at Worlds will be Kyle Reyes and Shady ElNahas. Both judokas will be competing in the Under 100 kg class on Friday, so stayed tuned for more judo excitement to come!