After watching her compatriot Jessica Klimkait take top honours yesterday in the under-57 kg weight category, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard appeared to have the wind in her sails on Wednesday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in the United Arab Emirates. The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist glided through the competition on her way to the top of the podium in the under-63 kg weight division.
In the final, Beauchemin-Pinard quickly claimed the lead over Jing Tang of China. Just over two minutes into the match, the Québécoise capped off her day by throwing her opponent to the ground with an ura-nage.
“My last few competitions haven’t been up to my expectations. Today’s result is a real morale booster. It’s good to know I’m still in the game! I wanted to finish on a high note, and I knew I could win this match. Before it started, I told myself I was going to give it everything I had, and I wouldn’t even give her a chance,” said Beauchemin-Pinard.
Her most recent Grand Slam victory was in Tel Aviv in February.
Beauchemin-Pinard’s reaction to her win today was instantaneous. On her knees in the middle of the tatami, she raised both fists into the air with a huge smile on her face.
“I was so happy right after my win. Not only did I win, but I did it with a huge ippon. I felt powerful!” added the gold medallist.
Earlier on Wednesday, the 29-year-old athlete had received a first-round bye. She then defeated Gaëtane Deberdt of France in her first bout of the day. Next, she secured her spot in the final four with a decisive win over Magdalena Krssakova of Austria.
Her victory over Austria’s Lubjana Piovesana in the semi-final secured her spot in the final.
“I think my mental preparation made a big difference. I took the day one bout at a time, without thinking ahead too much. I really stayed focused on the present,” she explained.
In the under-81 kg division, François Gauthier-Drapeau lost his first and only fight in Abu Dhabi to Nurbek Murtozoev of Uzbekistan.
On Thursday, Canadians Louis Krieber-Gagnon (-90 kg), Shady ElNahas (-100 kg) and Kyle Reyes (-100 kg) will hit the tatamis on the final day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.