Amanda McAlpine shone this week at the Veterans World Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, taking second place in the over-78 kg category!
In the round robin, 45-year-old McAlpine defeated Sandra Barbaka of Latvia in her first bout of the day.
The teacher from Guelph, Ontario, then faced Cristini Magini of Italy. In the hotly contested match, Magini eventually gained the upper hand, winning the bout with two waza-ari.
McAlpine’s third and final fight was her most important of the day. With the silver medal at stake, she and her opponent Bayarmaa Legden of Mongolia entered the battle with tournament records of one win and one loss each.
The clash was so intense that the judokas found themselves with two shidos each after only two minutes. McAlpine ultimately clinched the victory when Legden received a third penalty, and finished the day on the second step of the podium, behind Magini.
Ralph Ibanez was Canada’s other star performer at the Veterans World Championships this week. In the under-66 kg weight division, the 74-year-old judoka got off to a strong start in the tournament with a win over Willy Huber of Germany. He then defeated Sasaki Yashuhiro of Japan.
Things took a tougher turn for the Canadian in the next round, however, when he lost to Katagiri Kiyoshi, also of Japan. Ibanez had to forfeit his final match of the day to Tom Pahlman of Finland.
He finished the day in fourth place, with two wins and two losses.
Germany’s Huber, who had lost to Ibanez early in the day, won his next three bouts and captured the gold medal.
Canada’s Danick Rocheleau (-100 kg) also ranked at this year’s Veterans World Championships. The 34-year-old won his first match of the day against France’s Mathurin Ligot in a fierce battle that went into overtime.
Next, Rocheleau was up against Milton Miranda of Brazil in the quarter-final. Unfortunately for the Canadian, Miranda won by ippon, and later went on to claim the top spot on the podium.
In the repechage, Rocheleau suffered a second loss, this time to Fakhriddin Sharipov of Uzbekistan. Nevertheless, the Québécois placed seventh in the competition. Last year, he finished fifth at the same event in Kraków, Poland.
In the under-73 kg category, 41-year-old Julien Pinel defeated Rajesh Kumar of India in his first fight of the day, before bowing out to Arne Dewulf of Belgium in overtime in the following round, due to penalties. Pinel then lost to Bakhruz Aliyez of Kazakhstan in the repechage.
José Mechato met a similar fate in the under-66 kg weight class. The 45-year-old won his opening bout against Batjargal Buriad of Mongolia, before losing back-to-back fights to Fabio Stefano Brocchieri of Italy and Ronny Hugon Jeannin of France, who later won silver and bronze, respectively.
In under-90 kg action in Abu Dhabi, Eric Velez lost his first bout of the day to Alban Trocherie of France, who later won a bronze medal. However, the 48-year-old Canadian bounced back in the repechage, with a win over George Siradze of Georgia. Unfortunately, Velez’s day came to an end in the next round, when he bowed out to Jose Semedo of Angola.
In the same weight category, 65-year-old Daniel Bird was defeated by two future medallists. First, he lost his quarter-final match to France’s Alain Dayer, who later won silver, before succumbing to Italy’s Massimo Petrillo, who later won bronze.
The final Canadian to compete in the United Arab Emirates was 58-year-old Michael Morgenroth, who lost his only fight of the day to Senegal’s Mambaye Diaw, who ultimately won bronze.