Vincent Nepton Seventh After Four Tough Fights

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24 August 2023
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Vincent Nepton was the only Canadian to secure a ranking on day two of the Cadet World Judo Championships in Zagreb, Croatia. The Québécois finished the day with a 2-2 record in the under-60 kg weight division, good for seventh place.

Photo: IJF, Emanuele Di Feliciantonio
Vincent Nepton (in white) in his last fight.

Following a first-round bye, Nepton dispatched of Fares Aljohar of Saudi Arabia and Sebestyen Kollar of Hungary in back-to-back bouts. In the quarter-final, he was defeated by Simas Polikevicius of Lithuania, who later won a bronze medal.

Nepton then headed to the repechage, where he lost by ippon to Tudor Mosoi of Romania, following a tough battle that put an end to the Canadian’s day of competition.

“Vincent had the upper hand for most of the bout, but following a holding error, the score was tied. Then, during a counter-attack, he rolled onto his neck. In judo, if you fall directly onto the head during an attack, or onto the neck, you are automatically disqualified. That’s how he lost the fight,” explained coach Alexandre Emond.

“It’s too bad, because things were going really well. He dominated for most of the bout, so he too was very disappointed in the outcome,” added Emond. “He felt like he could have won, and had that been the case, he would have been able to fight for a medal, which is not something that happens every day. He’s happy with his day, but very disappointed with his final fight.”

The coach and London Games Olympian knows very well that a day like this is a necessary part of any athlete’s training. “I told him that the World Championships are not the be-all-end-all, and that this is just part of his journey. Getting through four big fights is a great experience, and I think he learned a lot.”

In the same weight class, Luka Tsatsalashvili was defeated in the first round by Danylo Kravchenko of Ukraine.

The only other Canadian to record at least one victory on Thursday was Laurence Gagnon, who defeated Allison Garcia of the USA by waza-ari in the under-52 kg category. She then lost to Zohre Jumayeva of Turkmenistan by ippon.

In the same weight class, British Columbia’s Leanna Au received a first-round bye before bowing out to Melaniia Vodianna of Ukraine.

Mélody Grenier (-48 kg), Fahd Fithane (-66 kg) and Vincent Roberge-Poitras (-66 kg), all of Quebec, lost their first and only bouts of the day.

“They’re all young people who don’t have much international competition experience, and the draws were not to their advantage. Some of them could have won, but for others, the gap between their level and that of their opponents was too great. Overall, it was a bit disappointing, but they’re young, and tournaments like this help you learn how to manage your stress and your judo,” concluded Emond.

Canadians Alyssa Tkachenko (-57 kg), Dakota Sanzana (-63 kg), Elisey Sokolov (-73 kg) and Mohammad Said Habib (-81 kg) will hit the tatamis on Friday.


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