A First in five years for Louis Krieber-Gagnon 12 May 2023
Canadian Open Championships 17 May 2023
Shady ElNahas leaves mat injured; Kyle Reyes seventh
Friday was the final day of competitions at the World Judo Championships in Doha, Qatar, and unfortunately for Canadian judokas, it ended on something of a sour note. Ontario’s
Shady ElNahas was scheduled to face Israel’s Peter Paltchik in one of two bronze medal finals in the Under 100kg category, but had to withdraw due to injury; he ended his day in fifth place.
The draw resulted in ElNahas facing fellow canuck Kyle Reyes in the quarterfinals, whom he defeated by Ippon. Prior to the above bout, ElNahas had defeated Estonian Grigori Minaskin and Colombian Francisco Balanta. “The guys fought very well before this particular match-up. It was a very close, Shady won, and Kyle went to the repechage. At that point I had high hopes that at least one of the two of them would go on to medal,” explained National Coach Antoine Valois-Fortier. “Right off the bat in his next bout – the semi-final against Russia’s Arman Adamian – Shady injured a rib. He wasn’t able to continue, because the pain was too much.” The 25-year-old Canadian was on his way to hospital to undergo tests to better understand the severity of his injury. “He’s had no rib injuries before this last fight,” said Valois-Fortier. Shady ElNahas had been scheduled to fight for a bronze medal against Israeli Peter Paltchik. The duel was set to be exciting, as both judokas had met four times previously, and each had won twice. Paltchik won the last bout at the Paris Grand Slam last winter, while the Canadian’s last victory came in the repechage at the Tokyo Olympic tournament. After his loss to ElNahas, Reyes, who was a silver medalist at last year’s World Championships, lost his repechage to a waza-ari dolled out by Georgian (and world number one) Ilia Sulamanidze. “The bout started off well. The Georgian judoka was starting to get tired, but he was able to score a point at a key moment. After that, it was a game of cat and mouse. Sure, it’s disappointing that our two guys didn’t reach the podium, but there are still positives from today – even if it is an unfortunate end to the Championships,” added the Coach, and referring to protégé Reyes, who finished the tournament in seventh place. Canada finishes this World Championships with one gold, one bronze, three fifth place finishes, and two seventh place finishes. “We were able to put several athletes in a position to win medals on a regular basis, so that’s a good sign. Now there are small adjustments to be made to ensure those finishes improve. There are a lot of positives, but also a lot of missed chances – including what happened today; I had envisioned a totally different ending. There are lessons we can learn to be better prepared the next time,” concluded Valois-Fortier.