“I’m right where I want to be”- Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, Champion in Tbilisi

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Montréal, March 23, 2024 – Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard was unstoppable on Saturday at the Tbilisi Grand Slam, putting in a perfect day to claim the top spot on the podium. This important win aligns perfectly with her preparations for the Paris Olympic Games.

Photo: Tamara Kulumbegashvili
Joanne Van Lieshout, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, Angelika Szymanska and Kim Jisu.

The top-ranked judoka in the world in the under-63 kg weight category wrapped up the tournament with a victory by waza-ari over Angelika Szymanska of Poland, who had defeated Beauchemin-Pinard in the first round of the Masters Tournament in Jerusalem in 2022.

This time around, Beauchemin-Pinard came out on top after scoring a waza-ari in the final minute of combat. “For a while now, I’ve been practicing this left-side technique, and it opened the door for me,” said the champion at the end of the day. “I attempted it, she dodged it, and I was able to follow up with the waza-ari.”

Once she had the lead, the Québécoise took the tussle to the mats to let the clock run down, but the move almost backfired. Szymanska attempted to immobilize Beauchemin-Pinard with an arm lock, but was unable to complete an ippon.

“I got a bit greedy, and I wasn’t careful enough,” admitted the Canadian. “At first I was worried because I was really stuck, but I managed to get my legs around her and avoid too much trouble. I was glad to get out of it and make it to the end, even if it wasn’t the best way I’ve ever ended a bout.”

Beauchemin-Pinard, who also won her four previous matches, two of them in overtime, thus clinched the fifth Grand Slam victory of her career. What’s more, thanks to today’s win, she remains at the top of the world rankings and has moved one step closer to the Paris Olympics.

“For me, winning a tournament before Paris was an important step. I wanted the weekend to go well, and I can say that I’m right where I want to be in my preparation. I’m feeling confident, and I feel good physically. I’m going to take it easy for a few days and rest, and next weekend, I’ll set some new challenges for myself,” concluded Beauchemin-Pinard, who will compete at the Antalya Grand Slam in Turkey next weekend.

Also in Tbilisi on Saturday, Arthur Margelidon (-73 kg) and François Gauthier-Drapeau (-81 kg) were eliminated in the second round in their respective weight divisions.

Louis Krieber-Gagnon (-90 kg), Shady ElNahas (-100 kg), and Kyle Reyes (-100 kg) will be the last three Canadians to hit the tatamis at the Tbilisi Grand Slam, which will conclude on Sunday.

Two medals for Canada in Germany

Several Canadians were also in action at international tournaments in Bremen and Thuringia, Germany. Two of them finished the day on the third step of the podium. In the U18 age category, British Columbians Nathan Thiel (-55 kg) and Lowan Le Bris (-66 kg) each won six of their seven bouts to claim bronze medals.

Nathan Thiel and Lowan Le Bris

“Both boys had similar days. They lost their quarter-final matches, but showed solid character by coming back strong in the repechage to claim a medal each. It’s a great result that bodes well for the future. They’re both good on the ground, and they used that to their advantage,” explained Alexandre Émond, coach of the men’s team in Bremen.

Zachary Harris (-73 kg) finished the day with one win and one loss, while Justin Webber (-55 kg) and Jean-David Bouchard (+90 kg) were eliminated in the first round.

Simultaneously, a little further south, Quebec’s Melody Grenier (U18) and Ontario’s Kiera Burt (U21) obtained Canada’s best results in the women’s tournament in Thuringia, finishing fifth and seventh, respectively.

In the under-52 kg weight category, Grenier finished the day with five wins and two losses, including a heartbreaker in the bronze medal final. “Melodie really stood out today [Saturday]. It was her first experience in Thuringia, and she did great. She managed her fights well and came very close to winning a medal. Overall, she should be very pleased!” said coach Antoine Bouchard.

Burt (-78 kg) also performed well, despite the fact that she was competing in a higher weight category than usual. “She normally competes in the under-70 kg division, but she didn’t let herself get pushed around. She was up against opponents who were much heavier than her, and she did very well,” concluded Bouchard.

The other Canadian women to win at least one bout on Saturday were Catherine Toshkov (3-2, -57 kg), Loika Robertson (2-1, -63 kg), and Hailey Ko (1-1, -57 kg) in the U21 age category, and Carla Van Zyl (3-2, -57 kg), Hayden Thibault (2-2, -57 kg), and Abigail Smith (2-2, -70 kg) in the U18 age group.

Valeria Kostrovets (U18, -48 kg), Addyson Tamura (U18, -48 kg), Alandra Steiger (U18, -63 kg), Kylee Esparbes (U21, -48 kg), Laurence Gagnon (U21, -57 kg), and Alisa Kofman (U21, +78 kg) were eliminated in the first round.

Now that the women’s tournament in Thuringia has come to a close, all eyes will be on Bremen on Sunday, where the U21 athletes will step onto the tatamis.

Vincent Nepton (-60 kg), Eliandre Barriault-Tremblay (-66 kg), Luke Thomson (-66 kg), Daniil Kremerman (-66 kg), Matis Ganet (-73 kg), and Oleksandr Kaplin (-90 kg) will represent Canada at the international tournament.


Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

For more information:

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

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