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Paris Grand Slam : Melançon disappointed with ninth place finish

Montréal, February 4th, 2012 – Currently involved in a heated battle with three other judokas for the final available spot in the London Olympic Games, Joliane Melançon needed a 5th place or better finish at the Paris Grand Slam, Saturday, to increase her point total. With the ninth place finish, her chances of qualifying for the Olympics were therefore not improved.

The judoka from Blainville began her day well with a defeat of American Anna Palmer by ippon. Her next opponent was the Frenchwoman Automne Pavla (ranked 6th in the under 57 kg class). Pavla eliminated Melançon (18th worldwide), and would eventually go on to claim the bronze medal.

“My strategy was to take her to ground because the French are not strong on the ground, but she knew that that was one of my strengths and never gave me an opportunity to bring her down, Melançon explained. We were always battling along the borders. Whenever we went to ground we simply went out of bounds, and began again in the center.”

Melançon, who already has completed five competitions that count towards Olympic qualifying, needs a minimum score of 40 points per tournament to improve her overall total.  With a final score of 36 points today, she was unable to move up in the standings.

“I have two more tournaments left to pass ahead of the three other judokas, she pointed out. I have no intention of changing my game plan.  I could also try to compete in another World Cup, but to obtain the necessary points I’d need to reach the final.  Therefore, I’m counting on the Germany Grand Prix and Pan-American Championships to get those points.”

Record of 1-1 for Will, Mehmedovic and Popiel

Registered in the under 60 kg division, the Quebecer Frazer Will took home the 17th spot thanks to a record of one win and one loss.  He beat the Uzbek Ulugbek Azizov before falling to the 13th ranked Armenian, Hovhannes Davtyan.

In the under 66 kg class, both Canadian judokas succumbed to the same fate to finish the tourney in 33rd position. Michal Popiel took care of the Mongol Cedric Bessi but couldn’t manage a result against the Russian Mikhail Pulyaev.  Sasha Mehmedovic also won his first bout against the Malagasy Elie Norbert, before losing to the Korean Min-Ho Choi.

Nicholas Tritton lost his first bout versus the Russian Zelimkhan Ozdoev, and did not receive a classification.

Sunday, Marylise Lévesque (-78 kg), Amy Cotton (-78 kg), Kelita Zupancic (-70 kg) and Antoine Valois-Fortier (-81 kg) will all be in action on the tatamis at the Paris Grand Slam.