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Montréal, May 25, 2024 – There was plenty of action on Saturday, the third day of the Open National Championships, as fourteen U21 judokas were awarded gold medals, as were seventeen athletes in the U16 category.

Photos: Judo Canada
Yehor Paladii and Rebeca Manaila

Yehor Paladii (-90 kg) and Rebeca Manaila (-63 kg), who both compete in the U21 age category, were particularly impressive on the tatamis, ending the day with gold medals around their necks.

Paladii, last year’s U18 champion, achieved the same feat in the U21 category today, defeating Alberta’s Carter Althouse by ippon in the big final.

“I’m really happy with my day! Last year, I won at the cadet level, and for my first year at the junior level, I wanted nothing less than gold, and I succeeded,” said the Ontarian, who remained undefeated in all four of his bouts at the Centre Pierre-Charbonneau.

According to Paladii, his training over the past few months was the key to winning all his matches and clinching his new title.

“I’ve been working hard for this all season, especially on analyzing my opponents and adapting to each situation,” he said. “It paid off today. I knew what to do with each opponent, and my plans worked.”

In contrast, Rebeca Manaila had to contend with a shorter-than-usual preparation period. Having been absent from competition for several months, she had to shake off her nerves early in the day, before finding her groove and achieving her goal of stepping onto the top of the podium.

“I’m really happy, because the beginning of the day was hard for me, with all the stress,” admitted the Québécoise. “After having to lose weight these past few days, I wasn’t at my best, but I managed to rally in time for my first two bouts, and avoid losing.”

Her third match, against Alberta’s Maralgoo Batbayar in the semi-finals, was her biggest challenge of the day. She had to dig deep to win by ippon, before ending her day on a high note, with a victory over Manitoba’s Sarah Ekosky in the big final.

“After I won the semi-final, I knew I was going to go all the way,” said Manaila, as she left the podium. “We know each other well, which added to my stress, because I knew it would be difficult. Still, I was able to get a good hold on her upper body, and that made the difference. That’s one of the advantages I have in being tall, and I used it.”

Fresh off their wins, Paladii and Manaila will now begin to look ahead to a number of major competitions in the coming months, including the Junior World Championships in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in October.

But first, they will both compete in the senior tournament in their respective weight divisions on Sunday, with an eye to returning to the podium.

Determination leads Minier and Temirbaev to gold

Like their compatriots Manaila and Paladii, Annabel Minier and Amir Temirbaev also had big smiles on their faces following Saturday’s competitions, which ended at the top of the podium for both U16 athletes.

Annabel Minier and Amir Temirbaev

In the under-44 kg category, Minier won all four of her bouts today by ippon, to claim her first-ever national title. “I’m really proud! In 2023, I won a bronze medal, so I worked really hard to improve and win the gold medal this time,” said the Québécoise, following her final-round win over her countrymate Malak Snani.

“My experiences over the past year really motivated me, while also preparing me to win this title,” she explained. “I honed several techniques in preparation for this tournament, and I had a game plan for each opponent. I was ready, and my plan worked from start to finish.”

Undefeated in five fights in the under-55 kg category, Temirbaev proved he too was well-prepared for the tournament, regardless of what came his way.

“Things didn’t go exactly as I expected, but I managed!” said the British Columbian, after receiving his hard-won gold medal.

In the big final, he squared off against Quebec’s Ashkan Khanhan Zamora, a left-handed judoka who made him work extra hard throughout the match, which ended by ippon in overtime.

“I always have a tougher time against left-handed [athletes], and my basic game plan wasn’t working,” explained Temirbaev.

However, effective communication with his coaches and, above all, tenacity, enabled him to gain the upper hand and achieve his goal of winning the title in his category.

“I listened to the advice I was getting on the tatamis, and I kept pushing harder. By working really hard, I managed to win, and that’s a great feeling,” he concluded.

On Sunday, the final day of the Open National Championships promises more spectacular judo, as the senior judokas take to the mats.

Watch the live webcast to catch all the action!

For the competition results, click here.


Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

For more information:

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

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