Two Canadians Score Bronze in Belgium!

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Montréal, January 28, 2024 – Canada’s judokas performed well at the International Belgian Open in Harstel, with two members of the national team making their mark in the senior event on Sunday. Jumber Meladze (-81 kg) and Laurence Biron (-70 kg) won bronze medals in their respective categories.

Photo: Judo Canada
Laurence Biron

It was Meladze’s first international medal, and according to his coach Sasha Mehmedovic, it was well-deserved.

“He really dominated today,” said Mehmedovic of Meladze. “But unfortunately, he lost his quarter-final match. It was a close fight, but [Jumber] just couldn’t quite get the upper hand over his opponent Jarne Duyck.”

At the same event last year, Meladze came very close to earning a spot on the podium, but lost the bronze medal final and finished fifth. This year, the Ontarian wanted to go all the way.

Duyck, the only judoka to defeat Meladze today [Sunday], concluded the tournament with the gold medal around his neck.

David Popovici and Keagan Young, who also competed in the under-81 kg category on Sunday, lost their first and only bouts of the day.

Frédéric de Cardaillac (-66 kg) faced a similar fate, while Daniel McCristall won his first match but was eliminated when he lost his second.

In the same weight division, Daniil Kremerman ended the day with two wins and two losses. According to Mehmedovic, the experience Kremerman gained in Belgium will aide him throughout his career.

“He nevertheless fought four fights today! Unfortunately, he didn’t reach the podium, but it was a great experience that will serve him well in future tournaments,” explained the coach.

In the under-100 kg category, Benjamin Kendrick won his first bout before bowing out to Mehdi Karoui of France in his second. Alex Marinaux lost his first and only fight of the day.

Biron, sole Canadian woman on the podium

Laurence Biron also won a bronze medal in Belgium! The Québécoise had a strong start to the day, suffering her only defeat in the semi-final to Friederike Stolz of Germany, who later won the gold medal in the under-70 kg category.

“[Laurence] fought well, but made a few errors that cost her. But she still won bronze! What she now needs to work on is improving her control during fights,” explained her coach, Janusz Pawlowski. “The important thing is that she won a medal! She’s really happy.”

Also in the under-70 kg weight class, Alexandria Lefort lost her first fight of the day to Juliette Diollot of France.

Marie-Lune Turmel came very close to earning a spot on the podium at the International Belgian Open. She won her first two bouts in the under-48 kg group before being edged out in the quarter-final. She then advanced to the bronze medal final, where she was defeated by Clémentine Richard of France.

“Marie-Lune had a good day. It was her first international experience as a senior. Four wins and two losses—it was one of her best competition days ever!” said Antoine Bouchard, who accompanied the Canadian team to Europe. “Every single one of her wins was hard-fought. She worked really hard and came very close to winning a medal. It’s still early days for her, so we can expect great things from her in the future.”

Heidi Quach (-48 kg), who won a bronze medal on Saturday in the junior event, finished seventh today. An early loss to Clémentine Richard sent her to the repechage. She won her next two bouts before bowing out to Jacqueline Springer of Austria.

Evelyn Beaton, who also won bronze yesterday, finished seventh in the under- 52 kg category after being defeated in the repechage. In the same weight class, Sarra Bourihane was limited to one fight.

In the under-63 kg division, Isabelle Harris finished with two wins and one loss, while Kiera Westlake lost her first and only fight of the day.

A short day for Canada in Portugal

On Sunday, judokas Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi and Mohab ElNahas competed in the Odivelas Grand Prix in Portugal.

In the over-78 kg weight class, Portuondo-Isasi prevailed over Ivana Sutalo of Croatia with a waza-ari, but lost to Kim Hayun of South Korea in the next round.

In the under-90 kg group, ElNahas was ousted by Komei Kawabata of Japan in his only bout of the day.


Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

For more information:

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

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