Priscilla Gagné Takes Bronze in Challenging Tournament

Two More Medals for Canada in Baku
17 February 2024
Important Memo
29 February 2024

Montréal, February 18, 2024 – Ontario’s Priscilla Gagné won bronze in the J1 under-57 kg category at the Para Judo Grand Prix in Heidelberg, Germany, on Sunday. The Canadian veteran finished her day with a 4-1 record.

Photo: Judo Canada
Priscilla Gagné won a bronze medal.

Her only loss came at the hands of Uzbekistan’s Uljon Amrieva, a new arrival on the international scene and the winner of today’s tournament. Reigning world champion Shi Yijie of China finished second, and Paula Karina of Argentina won the other bronze medal.

After defeating Maria Manzanero of Spain, Gagné, who won silver at the Tokyo Grand Prix last December, lost to Amrieva. The 37-year-old then went on to beat Tessa Koponen of Finland and Alfiya Tlekkabyl of Kazakhstan in back-to-back bouts in the repechage. In her final match of the day, the Canadian edged out Larissa Silva of Brazil.

“It’s exciting to see that new talent is emerging as we prepare for the Paris Paralympic Games,” said Gagné, whose four wins today were all by ippon.

In the same category, British Columbia’s Christina Mowatt finished with a record of 0-2. She lost her first bout to Silva of Brazil and her second to Karina of Argentina.

Quebec’s Eitel Houedakor (J1 -90 kg), who was competing in the first international tournament of his career, did not rank. After losing his first match to 2022 world champion Cyril Jonard of France, he moved on to the repechage, where he bowed out to another strong contender, Oleg Cretul of Moldova, who was European champion two years ago.

Coralie Godbout expected better than fifth

Meanwhile, at the Algiers African Open, Coralie Godbout finished fifth in the under-78 kg weight division. In her battle for bronze, the Québécoise was defeated by Arij Akkab of Tunisia.

Last week, at the Tunis African Open, the same two athletes met in the big final; that time, the Canadian came out on top.

“I didn’t have a very good day today. I ran into some logistical issues [getting here], and I think that subconsciously, it affected me mentally. Even physically, I wasn’t feeling as strong as I was last week,” said Godbout. “Honestly, I expected to finish on the podium today, and I’m disappointed about this competition. I let my emotions get the better of me, and that’s what made the difference.”

Godbout began her day with a marathon bout against Milica Cvijic of Serbia. She lost after more than six minutes of competition.

“The refereeing in that match was disappointing. There were some penalties that weren’t called, which would have allowed me to win. But there were also some things I could have done better, of course,” explained Godbout, adding that she had difficulty shaking off the loss before moving on to her next bouts.

In the repechage, she bested Ange Ciella Niragira of Burundi by ippon before facing off against Akkab.

“I need to work on the mental side of things. I think the issue of Olympic qualification points is causing me to put a lot of pressure on myself. [. . .] I have to learn to control that, and I’ll do better next time. I can’t let the bad days get to me,” said Godbout, who will now return home to start preparing for the Pan-American Championships, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro in late April.

Victory elusive in Baku

The three Canadians competing in Baku, Azerbaijan, also had a tough day today.

In the under-100 kg weight division, Ontario’s Kyle Reyes defeated Ernazar Bilalov of Uzbekistan by ippon in overtime before bowing by out by waza-ari to Niiaz Bilalov of Russia, who later won a bronze medal.

In the same category, Shady ElNahas was halted in his first and only match of the day by Onise Saneblidze of Georgia, who won by waza-ari.

As for Louis Krieber-Gagnon (-90 kg), he lost his first and only match of the day to Marcelo Gomes of Brazil.

“It’s been a bit of a disappointing day. The fights were close, but [the judokas] didn’t make the key decisions they needed to make to win them. They were within their grasp, but they made a few small errors in the final moments that cost them the bouts. Losing a close fight is always painful,” said Canadian coach Antoine Valois-Fortier.

The Canadian team that has been on the road for the past three weeks will nevertheless return home with three medals from this weekend’s tournaments: gold for Christa Deguchi (-57 kg), silver for Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg), and bronze for Arthur Margelidon (-73 kg).

The team will be back on the road in five weeks’ time to attend tournaments in Georgia and Turkey. The competitions will count toward the Olympic qualification process, which comes to an end on June 22.


For more information:

Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

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

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