Priscilla Gagné Fifth in Bittersweet Tournament 25 August 2023
An Eye-Opening Day 26 August 2023
Canada’s judokas gave their all on Friday, the third day of competition at the Cadet World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia. Ontario’s
Elisey Sokolov, only 16 years of age, had the best Canadian results of the day, winning two of his three bouts.
Sokolov came out strong in the under-73 kg weight class, with back-to-back wins over Marko Sucevic of Bosnia and Paolo Krajcar of Croatia. However, in the third round, he bowed out to Tsotne Bakhtadze of Georgia. “Sokolov was excellent in his three fights today [Friday]. He’ll be able to return to the Cadet World Championships next year, and he’ll certainly be one to watch with all the experience he picked up this year. He has a lot of potential, and he fights very well. He showed us some great things today,” noted coach Alexandre Émond. Mohammad Said Habib (-81 kg) lost his first and only bout in Zagreb to Boris Rutovic of Croatia. On the women’s side, Alyssa Tkachenko (-57 kg) made her mark with a first-round victory over Tamara Djukic of Bosnia. However, despite battling hard against Aselkhan Aralbaeva of Uzbekistan in her next bout, Tkachenko conceded defeat just over three minutes into the fight. Coach Émond was pleasantly surprised by Tkachenko’s performance, given that she has only been practicing judo for a few years. “It’s very promising to see such an inexperienced athlete hold her own against some of the best in her age group. She did very well in her two fights today. She looked great, and that bodes well for the future,” he explained. Also in the under-63 kg category, Dakota Sanzana was defeated by Lihi Boaron of Israel in her first and only match of the day. Although there were no Canadians in contention for a medal on Friday, Émond views this type of competition as an excellent opportunity for the young athletes. The experience they gained by competing against European and Asian opponents can only serve them well in the future. “We won the bouts we were favoured to win and lost the ones we weren’t. Everybody gave their all! Experiencing an international event like the Cadet Worlds at their age is very important. They’ll return to Canada with an idea of how they measure up to athletes from elsewhere, and we can work with that in our future training sessions,” concluded Émond. On Saturday, the final day of the Cadet World Championships, Charline Bourque (-70 kg), Maralgoo Batbayar (-70 kg), Frédérique Lavigne (+70 kg), Marianna Karas (+70 kg), Oleksansdr Kaplin (-90 kg) and Matys Rainville (+90 kg) will all be in action.