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Young Canadian judokas climb the podium twice

Montréal, March 24, 2012 – The Canadian women’s judo squad took home two medals, Saturday, in the U17 and U20 tourneys presented at the Thuringia Cup, taking place in the German region of the same name.  In the U17 event, Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi was crowned champion in the +70 kg class, while Sophie Vaillancourt (U20) came away with a bronze medal finish in the +78 kg division.

Portuondo-Isasi was perfect in her three bouts, defeating the Germans Greta Neuschwander, Theresa Dohrer and Jana Bauerfeind, one after the other.  As expected, the Quebecoise faced her toughest test in the gold medal bout.

“In the finals, my opponent was really heavy.  She was falling on me and I was having a lot of difficulty scoring points,” Portuondo-Isasi, who won a bronze medal in last week’s U20 tourney in Portugal, explained.  “My coach told me I had to get her moving, and it wasn’t too long after that I managed to throw her down for a waza-ari.  Last year I finished 5th, so I came in here pushing hard for a medal.  It’s the best result of my career!”

Even though she’s still eligible for U17 competitions, the judoka is going to drop those events to put all her focus on U20 tourneys, where she’ll meet higher skilled opponents.

“Ana Laura was fantastic today; it was a thoroughly dominating performance from start to finish”, coach Marie-Hélène Chisholm added.

The Canadian contingent was a major player in the U20 tourney as well.  After losing in her first bout to the German Carolin Wein, Sophie Vaillancourt (+78 kg) took out the Dutchwoman Jaszoe Franken and the German Melissa Mache, a result that would garner her one of the two bronze medals in play.

Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg) finished her day with a record of 3-2, good enough for a 7th place finish, while Whitney Lohnes (-48 kg) and Alix Renaud-Roy (-70 kg) both finished 9th.

“Sophie’s result was a very pleasant surprise for us.  She won two fights to win her first international medal.  I’m very happy with our results today. It’s the first time we’ve ever won two medals.  As well, we were able to record more victories than last year,” the coach pointed out, adding that Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard’s disqualification for an illegal hold was questionable.  “In my eyes, the judges were quite severe.”

Meanwhile, at the U17 tourney in Bremen, Louis Kreiber-Gagnon (-81 kg) was the best Canadian on the day, finishing in 5th position.  The Quebecer finished the day with a record of 4-2.  The only other Canadian to receive a classification was Gueorgui Poklitar, who finished 9th in the -60 kg class.


Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada