One Win, One Loss for Jumber Meladze at World Juniors 6 October 2023
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John Jr. Messé A Bessong, the final Canadian to hit the tatamis at the Junior World Championships in Odivelas, Portugal,was halted in the repechage, finishing seventh in the over-100 kg weight category.
These were the first Junior World Championships for Messé A Bessong, who won the title at the cadet level in 2022. He got off to a strong start today with a win by ippon over Denis Batchaev, before facing Ibrahim Tataroglu of Turkey. Tataroglu very nearly opened the scoring by throwing the Québécois to the ground and grabbing him by the arm, but Messé A Bessong defended himself effectively and broke away. With less than a minute to go, Messé A Bessong attempted an attack, but was countered by his opponent, who seized the opportunity to score a waza-ari. Tataroglu held onto his lead until the time ran out. In the repechage, Messé A Bessong’s day came to an end when he was defeated by ippon by Grzegorz Teresinski of Poland. “He looked good, but he made some tactical errors that cost him two fights,” explained coach Alexandre Emond. “He’s got what it takes to compete at this level, but there’s still some work to do. But let’s also focus on the positive! He was able to hold his own against the best in the world.” Shalva Gureshidze of Georgia won gold in the over-100 kg category by defeating Tataroglu in the big final. Messé A Bessong, who is only in his first year as a junior, will be eligible to compete in two more Junior World Championships before making the leap to the senior level. “He’ll learn from this experience, and we’ll simply have to work on these things in training,” concluded Emond, with confidence.