Heidi Quach and Evelyn Beaton Capture Medals in Belgium

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Montréal, January 27, 2024 – Two Canadian women distinguished themselves on Saturday at the International Belgian Open. In the women’s tournament in Herstal, Heidi Quach (-48 kg) and Evelyn Beaton (-52 kg) won bronze medals in the junior competition. John Jr Messé A Bessong (+100 kg) finished fifth in his weight division in Visé.

Photo: Judo Canada
Heidi Quach and Evelyn Beaton

Quach started the day strong, winning her first three bouts in the pool phase. She defeated Elsa Jouanneau of France, Zoé Hamdan of Germany, and Megan Warners of the Netherlands back-to-back to advance to the main draw, where she ousted Asal Ghaffar of Germany in the first round. Her next fight was against Adachi Mito of Japan, who won the bout by ippon and later went on to capture the category’s gold medal.

However, Quach bounced back in the bronze medal final with a win over Maud Rikmanspoel of the Netherlands. According to Canadian coach Janusz Pawlowski, the Québécoise’s ability to anticipate her opponents’ moves was key to her podium finish on Saturday.

“Heidi was great today. She fought well against [Mito], and her defense was excellent. Some of her moves were spectacular. She has a great capacity to predict what’s coming. It’s an instinct that few athletes possess, and it was the key to her great results. She had a great day,” he said.

In the same weight class, Marie-Lune Turmel lost her first two fights of the day in Herstal.

Evelyn Beaton won her two opening bouts against Emma Van Leeuwen of the Netherlands and Nina Güth of Germany. However, she hit a roadblock in the first elimination round, losing to Shanice Maya Luis of the Netherlands.

The loss did not faze Beaton, who rallied in the repechage to defeat Leonie Wickert of Germany before edging out Tabea Mecklenburg, also of Germany, in the bronze medal final.

“Evelyn had some great fights early in the day. At certain points, she was fully in control. Even during the fight she lost, she controlled the match well, but she made an error that ended up being decisive. But she kept her head up and fought well for the bronze medal at the end of the day,” explained Pawlowski.

Quach, Beaton, and Turmel will be back in action on Sunday in Herstal, for the senior competition. They will be joined by their teammates Sarra Bourihane (-52 kg), Isabelle Harris (-63 kg), Kiera Westlake (-63 kg), Laurence Biron (-70 kg), and Alexandria Lefort (-70 kg).

Messé A Bessong at foot of podium

John Jr Messé A Bessong obtained Canada’s highest result in Visé, Belgium, with a fifth-place finish.

The 19-year-old began the day with victories over Mohamed Rouahi and Cédric Caillon, both of France. However, his gold medal hopes were dashed in the semi-final, when he lost to Edouard Capelle of Belgium. Messé A Bessong then fought for a bronze medal, but his opponent Nasibov Kanan of Azerbaijan forced him to take three penalties and give up the win.

“The athlete from Azerbaijan was very strong, and he used every tool he had at his disposal. John wasn’t able to find the solution he needed to win. He’s still gaining experience, and I’m sure he’ll come back even stronger next time,” said Canadian coach Sasha Mehmedovic.

In the under-90 kg weight category, Guillaume Gaulin had two wins and two losses on Saturday. In the same weight class, Alex Marineau obtained a bye in the first round, then lost to Tigo Renes of the Netherlands.

In the under-73 kg division, Justin Lemire and Olivier Gagnon had one win and one loss each, while Yanis Hachemi lost his only match of the day.

The tournament will continue on Sunday in Visé. Frédéric De Cardaillac (-66 kg), Daniel McCristall (-66 kg), Daniil Kremerman (-66 kg), Jumber Meladze (-81 kg), David Popovici (-81 kg), Keagan Young (-81 kg), and Benjamin Kendrick (-100 kg) will represent Canada on the tatamis.

On Friday, Alberta’s Kelly Deguchi (-52 kg) took part in the Grand Prix in Portugal. She lost her first fight of the day to Ana Viktorija Puljiz of Croatia. Diyora Keldiyorova of Uzbekistan won the gold medal.

Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi (+78 kg) and Mohab ElNahas (-90 kg) will be in action in Portugal on Sunday.


Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

For more information:

Patrick Esparbès
Chief Operating Officer
Judo Canada
(514) 668-6279

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