Tough but Motivating Debuts for Young Canadians

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Vincent Nepton Seventh After Four Tough Fights
24 August 2023

Maria-Magdaleina Delye and Loic Beaton Kick Off Cadet World Championships

Judokas Maria-Magdaleina Delye and Loic Beaton did not achieve the results they had hoped for on Wednesday in Zagreb, where they made their international debuts at the Cadet World Championships. Although they may not have met expectations, they will leave Croatia with renewed motivation, according to Canadian national coach Alexandre Emond.

In the under-44 kg weight division, Delye was pitted against Malia Manibog of the USA in her first-ever international match. Despite her jitters, the 16-year-old Québécoise did not falter once during the 71-second bout, which ended in her favour. She remained in control throughout the fight, quickly knocking her opponent to the ground, where she immobilized her by choke hold and won by ippon.

“It was a beautiful win, and it left no doubt as to her level of preparation!” declared Emond.

A few moments later, Delye was up against Uzbekistan’s Laziza Haydarova, a seasoned competitor who had finished fifth in the same weight division at the 2022 Cadet World Championships in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Haydarova put her experience to good use, clinching the match by ippon in less than a minute. She then advanced to the bronze medal final, where she won, finishing the day with a bronze medal.

“It was a tall order for Maria-Magdaleina, and we knew it would be difficult,” explained Emond, who nevertheless regards his protégée’s prospects positively.

“Obviously, it didn’t end the way she would have liked, but it was still a great experience for her. The level of competition was very high, and she was clearly more stressed than usual. Competing in those types of conditions was new to her, but she was ready. It will definitely serve as inspiration for the future.”

The only other Canadian in action on day one of the Cadet World Championships was Beaton, who lost his first and only bout of the day in the under-55 kg weight category to Claudio Francisco of Angola.

The Albertan had gotten off to a strong start, forcing his opponent to take two shidos. However, the tide turned when he attempted to bring the bout to a close by launching a false attack and forcing his opponent to take a third penalty. Francisco successfully avoided the trap, and Beaton was the one to be penalized.

“The momentum really shifted after that. It was a good strategy, but the execution was not quite on point,” said Emond of the bout, which went into overtime.

Although the competitors had received two penalties each, the bout continued for more than four minutes, until Francisco scored a waza-ari with a shoulder attack that knocked Beaton over.

“By then, both athletes were very tired, and the Angolan landed the attack that made the difference,” continued Emond. “It’s really too bad, because Loic had dominated for most of the fight. Unfortunately, I think stress played a role, and he lost the match.”

It was also Beaton’s first appearance at the Cadet World Championships. And despite having tasted the bitterness of defeat, the 17-year-old Canadian will be able to use the experience as motivation upon his return home, says Emond.

“It’s a pretty impressive [event] for a young person, and it’s normal to be nervous! I think Loic knows he could have won that fight, and it also proves to him that he’s close to the level of the best in the world. That’s what he has to retain from this, and I think it will make him want to train even harder!” concluded the coach.

The action will resume on Thursday in Zagreb, with tournaments in four additional weight categories. Canadians Mélody Grenier (-48 kg), Laurence Gagnon (-52 kg), Leanna Au (-52 kg), Luka Tsatsalashvili (-60 kg), Vincent Nepton (-60 kg), Fahd Fithane (-66 kg) and Vincent Roberge-Poitras (-66 kg) will all hit the tatamis.

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