Alister Ward finds a way against three southpaws
Montréal, November 6, 2011 – The Canadian-born, French resident Alister Ward took home a bronze medal, Saturday, in the under 66 kg class at the Finland Open, presented in Vantaa.
Elsewhere, the Quebecoise Sarah-Myriam Mazouz struck silver in the under 70 kg division, while the Saskatchewanian Jordan Poliakiwski was able to come away with a bronze medal in the under 52 kg category. Only 4 other athletes were in their respective classes, however.
Ward, who was born in Montréal but has been living in Paris for many years, won three of his four bouts in the under 66 kg division, where 16 other judokas were in action.
In the first round, he defeated the Finn Arttu Raekorpi by ippon. His next fight was almost a carbon copy of his opener, this time a victory against the Austrian Driton Shala. The Finn Antti Rintamaki would, however, put an end to his gold medal hopes, stopping him in the semifinals.
Not deterred, Ward came back strong in his bronze medal bout, scoring an ippon against the Finnish judoka, Ville Kiljander.
“I took on three southpaws in four matches, and it’s the lefties that give me the most trouble. But I trained hard this week to defend against them, and in the end it paid off,” the bronze medalist from the French Junior Championships of 2009 explained.
“My first fight was against a righty, so there I had an easy time of getting into my comfort zone. Against the Austrian, it was thanks to the extra work I’d put in previously along with the tips I received from Jean-François (Marceau, the delegated coach in Finland) that helped me figure out where to put my hands against him.”
After being beaten with a waza-ari by Rintamaki, Ward’s victory over Kiljander was an important and fulfilling one; it proved that his hard work in training and helpful advice from Marceau eventually bore fruit.
As for Mazouz, she won two of her three fights. In the case of Poliakiwski, she won her first bout, but lost her second. Injured, she was forced to abandon in her third bout.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada