Medal and Pan-American Qualification for Isabelle Harris 23 July 2023
“Winning and being the champion feels really good!” – Julien Frascadore 3 August 2023
Canada made a strong showing on the podium on the final day of the Pan-American Open in Lima, picking up five medals on Sunday, including a gold medal by
Alexandre Arencibia in the under-90 kg weight category.
Arencibia won all three of his bouts in the tournament. After handily disposing of Gambia’s Abdourahman Ceesay early on, he took a more strategic approach in the next round, forcing Mexico’s Angel Garcia to take three penalties. In the big final, he was up against Yuta Galarreta of Peru, to whom he had lost in Bogotá last year. Arencibia set the tempo early in the bout, landing an ippon after Galarreta was injured. “I was a bit stressed, but I knew what I had to do, and I wanted that gold medal. I really wanted to win it. I needed it!” said Arencibia. It was his first gold medal as a senior, and his first international medal since his victory at the Junior Pan-American Cup in Montréal in 2019. Close to a year ago, he won silver at the Pan-American Open in Santo Domingo. “It was one of those days where all my game plans played out really well,” he explained. “We’re heading to the Jeux de la Francophonie next week, so it was great preparation for that competition!” Keagan Young also competed in the under-90 kg division today. Following a resounding victory over Mexico’s Diego Diaz in the first round, the Ontarian was defeated by Galarreta in the semi-final. He then squared off against Ceesay and, like Arencibia had done in the first round, clinched the match. Today’s medal was also Young’s first international one since 2019. The first Canadian to step onto the podium on Sunday was David Popovici, who refused to be cowed by his first-round loss to Lincoln Neves of Brazil, who later won silver in the under-81 kg category. Popovici bounced back to defeat Gustavo Eduardo Lopez Aguilera of El Salvador and claim third place on the podium. Benjamin Kendrick (-100 kg) very nearly followed in his teammates’ footsteps after defeating Cuba’s Liester Cardona in the first round. However, he lost to Daryl Yamamoto of Peru in the semi-final and found himself in the battle for bronze, where he lost for a second time and finished the day in fifth place. Bronze for Godbout and Lefort! The two Canadian women in action on Sunday will also depart Lima with new hardware. Coralie Godbout won bronze in the under-78 kg group after disposing of Brazil’s Ariana Ingrid Ramos Silva with a waza-ari in the final seconds of the bout. After losing her first fight of the day to Sairy Colon of Puerto Rico, the Québécoise wished to quickly put the setback behind her. In that fight, Godbout had been well in control, but her opponent blocked her attack and turned the play around to score. “It was too bad, because I lost a fight I could have won, so I was a bit frustrated,” said Godbout. “As for everything else, I’m happy with my day.” In the under-70 kg weight division, Alexandria Lefort also made an impression with a late-afternoon win over Xsara Morales Falconi of Peru. Lefort, who had beaten Peru’s Francis Godos Aguirre in the first round, was unable to repeat the feat against Brazil’s Alexia Castilhos, the only judoka to defeat Lefort in the race for gold. The Canadian made a strong comeback in the repechage, where she ousted Camila Lagos of Chile before disposing of Morales Falconi in the bronze medal final. Today’s five medals boost Canada’s total to six. Isabelle Harris won silver on Saturday in the under-63 kg weight class. Close to half of the Canadian delegation will depart Peru with a medal.