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Eleven Judokas to represent Canada in Guadalajara

Montréal, September 7th, 2011 – Judo Canada unveiled, Wednesday, the names of the eleven athletes who will represent Canada at the Pan-American games in Guadalajara. The Canadian contingent, which will be made up of veterans and youngsters, will attempt to improve upon their haul of three bronze medals in 2007, at the games held in Rio de Janeiro.

The elder statesmen of the group will be comprised of Amy Cotton, Frazer Will, Nicholas Tritton, Joliane Melançon, Michal Popiel and Alexandre Émond. The up-and-comers on the team are Kelita Zupancic, Antoine Valois-Fortier, Stéfanie Tremblay and Stefan Zwiers.

Nicolas Gill

Even though the results gleaned from this tournament will have no direct bearing on the Olympic selection process, coach Nicolas Gill believes that the Guadalajara meet will be a good testing ground for all of those involved, in anticipation of the upcoming London Games.

“The Pan-American games represent an important competition for us. It’s important for athletes to participate in multi-discipline games such as these, and there are still several judokas in our squad who’ve yet to participate in one.”

The young judokas may know exactly what to do on the tatamis, but Gill believes that it’s what happens outside the competition where the athletes can acquire a different, but equally important, kind of experience.

“At a big event like this, there’s a sort of routine that you fall into, whether it’s the accreditation, the opening and closing ceremonies, the athlete’s village, etc. The structure of the Canadian Olympic Committee will be the same here as it will be in London, so we see this as the perfect preparation, in every sense of the word, for the Olympics.”

Nicholas Tritton, bronze medalist in the -73 kg category in 2007, shares the same sentiment as his coach.

“Whether it’s the Pan-American, Commonwealth or Francophonie Games, it’s always good to experience multi-sport competitions,” the 2011 Pan-American Judo Championships bronze medalist explained. “At these types of Games, there’s always a bigger media presence, and winning a medal can be a rather large accomplishment on your resume. Even though I haven’t officially qualified for the Olympics yet, the fact that I have a decent lead allows me to pick and choose the events I want to participate in. As far as I’m concerned, competing in Guadalajara is a no-brainer for me.”

Joliane Melançon, who obtained the best Canadian result at the most recent World Championships in Paris with a 9th

Joliane Melançon

place finish, will be participating in her very first Pan-American Games.

“I’ve already competed in two Francophonie Games, but this event will definitely be much bigger for me,” Melançon pointed out.

The 25-year-old athlete will come in with a bit of a chip on her shoulder after missing out on the Rio Games due to a playoff loss in qualifications. “My objective will be to win a medal, no matter the colour. It won’t be easy of course, with a field that will be filled with top talent from the U.S., Cuba and Brazil most notably.”

The Pan-American Games kick-off on Friday, October 14th. The judo competition will begin on Wednesday, October 26th.

List of Canadian judo team members at the 2011 Guadalajara Pan-American Games
Name, class, hometown

Women’s Team:
Laurie Wiltshire, -52 kg, Calgary
Joliane Melançon, 57 kg, Montréal
Stéfanie Tremblay, -63 kg, Montréal
Kelita Zupancic, -70 kg, Montréal
Amy Cotton, -78 kg, Montréal 

Men’s Team:¸
Frazer Will, -60 kg, Montréal
Michal Popiel, -66 kg, Montréal
Nicholas Tritton, -73 kg, Montréal
Antoine Valois-Fortier, -81 kg, Montréal
Alexandre Émond, -90 kg, Varennes
Stefan Zwiers, -100 kg, Montréal

Marie-Hélène Chisholm
Nicolas Gill 

Isabelle Pearson

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Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada