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Cotton and Émond win gold in El Salvador

Quebecois judokas Amy Cotton (-78 kg) and Alexandre Émond (-90 kg) climbed the highest step of the podium, Sunday, at the San Salvador World Cup. Fellow Canadians Marylise Lévesque (-78 kg) and Catherine Roberge (-78 kg) also got in on the act, both taking home bronze medals.

The gold medal represents the second such feat in consecutive weeks for Cotton, who took home top honors at the Puerto La Cruz World Cup in Venezuela. This time around, the 17th ranked athlete defeated the Ukrainian, Maryna Pryshchepa(12th in the standings) in the tournament final to claim gold. “It’s always difficult to take on someone who’s in the top-14, but I already fought against her last year, so I knew what I had to do. I controlled the bout well. I stayed in my zone and did all the right things in order to win,” Cotton explained.

Fighting out of the under 78 kg class, Cotton started her day with a double bye directly into the quarterfinals, where she took on the 59th ranked Ecuadorian, Diana Chala. She then took on her teammate, Marylise Lévesque, in the semis, who she vanquished to advance to the finals. “It’s never easy to go up against Marylise, so I was really happy to have won.”

 In five weeks of competition across the Americas, Cotton has amassed 4 medals, including 2 gold, allowing her to accumulate important points for the Olympic qualification, for the upcoming London Games. “Five weeks in a row is pretty exhausting when you’re 31 years old!” Cotton confided jokingly. But I’m really satisfied with my performances. It feels good to come away with results like these. It’s was a big test, and I passed with flying colours.”

Roberge and Lévesque share the bronze on the podium

Before conceding to Cotton in the semifinals, Marylise Lévesque, 24th in the world, took out in successive rounds the Venezuelan, Keivl Pinto, and the Brazilian, Samantha Soares. Though denied a chance in the final by her compatriot, Cotton, the Quebecoise was still able to battle it out for a bronze medal. A win by ippon versus the Israeli, Omri Kenyon, allowed her to climb the podium and celebrate with a well earned, 3rd place finish.

 Still in the -78 kg category, Catherine Roberge imposed her will against the Mexican, Lenia

Ruvalcaba, and the Guatemalteca, Mirla Nolberto Labriel. The 22nd ranked judoka was then stopped by the Ukrainian, Maryna Pryshchepa, who won with an ippon. 

The Quebecoise then found herself in a bronze medal match of her own, facing off against Samantha Soares. Roberge matched her teammate’s performance, beating the Brazilian thanks to an ippon.

What a comeback!

 After a neck injury kept him off the tatamis for a few months, Alexandre Émond’s return to action  was nothing short of spectacular! After taking home a bronze medal last week in Venezuela, the  Quebecois continued his impressive return to form, this time winning it all in San Salvador.

 The Quebecer, ranked 20th in the world, went through the field ruthlessly, eliminating the  Slovenian, Igor Spasojevic, the Swiss, Ciril Grosklaus, and German, Christophe Lambert, all by way  of ippon. In the final, Émond took on the German, Florian Gehrmoth. “My opponent was super  aggressive at the beginning of the fight, so I waited until his pace slowed down a bit. It was this  point that I took him down to the ground and registered an ippon, securing me the victory,” Émond  explained.

Three other Canadians were also in action in the Men’s under 81 kg class. Despite a win in the first round, Kalem Kachur was unable to advance into the L-bracket.  Antoine Valois-Fortier and Guillaume Perrault were both beaten in their first round fights, and both received no classification.

On the Women’s side, Yacinta Nguyen-Huu, fighting in the under 70 kg division, saw her day come to a premature end, losing in her first round bout.

The Judokas now return home to prepare for the upcoming World Championships, which will take place late August, in Paris.