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Kyle Reyes had his work cut out for him Sunday, the final day of the Masters Tournament in Budapest, Hungary. In the 100kg category, the Canadian knew he’d have to overcome some stiff competition if he wanted to grab a spot on the podium. In the end, Reyes rose to the challenge with flying colors, ending the day with a bronze medal around his neck.
The 29-year-old first had a date on the tatami with Brazil’s Rafael Buzacarini, whom he defeated with two waza-aris. In the next round, he faced Switzerland’s Daniel Eich; Reyes scored a waza-ari in the four-minute bout to secure his place in the quarter-finals. Israel’s Peter Paltchik – bronze medallist at the most recent World Championships – finally snagged Reyes’ upward momentum after a technical bout that went into overtime. Reyes received three penalties, leading to his defeat. “Kyle faced two tough opponents in his first two bouts. As for the bout with the Israeli judoka, it was an extremely tactical fight that could have gone either way,” commented Canadian Coach Antoine Valois-Fortier. At the repechage Belgium’s Toma Nikiforov was due to face Reyes, but had to withdraw due to injury which sent the Canadian straight into a bronze-medal duel against Serbia’s Bojan Dosen. Reyes took his quarter-final defeat in stride, and put up an excellent fight in this final duel. Seconds after the start of extra time, he saw an opening and threw his opponent to the ground to secure his place on the podium. “Dosen (the Serbian judoka) had one of the best days of his career! The bout was pretty close, but Kyle was always in control and scored quickly at the start of overtime. He had a good attitude despite his defeat, and turned the page quickly; that enabled him to get his hands on bronze,” added Valois-Fortier. Coming back from injury, Shady ElNahas was also in action in the same category as Reyes. EINahas also received a difficult draw, but started his day off with vim and a win over Italy’s Gennaro Pirelli. ElNahas’ day came to an end in the next round, however, when he was defeated by the competition’s eventual gold medallist, Muzzafarbek Turoboyev (Uzbekistan). “Shady had a really big win in the first round against the Italian who’d beaten him in the past. He fought well afterwards because the Uzbek was in great form today (Sunday). Shady was injured at the World Championships and that played a part in his preparation for the Masters Tournament. All in all, it’s a step in the right direction,” concluded the coach.