Another Klimkait–Deguchi Final! 23 June 2023
Ice is broken before returning to training 26 June 2023
François Gauthier-Drapeau (-81 kg) and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg) certainly must have hoped to do better in their first international competition since the Doha World Championships. On Saturday, at the Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam in Mongolia, the two Quebec athletes were eliminated in the second round of their respective weight divisions.
The day had started well for Gauthier-Drapeau, who won his first match against Portugal’s Anri Egutidze by forcing him to take three penalties. However, things got a bit rougher in his second-round fight against Askerbii Gerbekov of Bahrain, who surprised the 25-year-old with a powerful throw, which was initially ruled as a waza-ari, but later revised to an ippon following the video replay, and which put an end to Gauthier-Drapeau’s day. “It definitely wasn’t what we were hoping for. François was solid in his first fight against a strong opponent. But next up was Gerbekov, who had beaten François in the past with a similar technique. So now we’ll have to go back to the drawing board to review everything,” said coach Antoine Valois-Fortier. Kenya Kohara of Japan won the gold medal in the under-81 kg category by defeating Joonhwan Lee of South Korea in the big final. As for Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, she was given a bye in the first round. In the second, she faced Chaewon Shin of South Korea. Their fiercely contested battle went into overtime, where the two judokas received a second penalty each. Unfortunately, the Montrealer received a third shido during Golden Score, immediately handing the victory to her opponent. “The South Korean had an unusual style that Catherine didn’t particularly like. On the whole, Catherine started the fight off very well. But she may not have been at her best today, and the fight dragged on until she was penalized for non-combativity, which put an end to her chances,” explained Valois-Fortier. Nami Nabekura of Japan, who won the championship exactly one year ago today in Ulaanbaatar, successfully defended her title in the Mongolian capital by defeating Szofi Ozbas of Hungary in the big final. Despite the less-than-stellar results of the two Canadians, Valois-Fortier retains a positive outlook of day two of the Grand Slam. “We’ve just come through a very busy period, with the World Championships. It’s normal for the athletes to not be on top of their game. This provides us with a good overview of what we need to focus on in the coming weeks, so that we can come back stronger as soon as possible.” On Sunday, the final day of competition in Mongolia, Louis Krieber-Gagnon (-90 kg) and Kyle Reyes (-100 kg) will be the last two Canadians to hit the tatamis.