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Canadian judokas strut their stuff on both sides of the Atlantic

Montréal, May 19th, 2012 – It was another solid effort by the Canadian team, Saturday, at the San Salvador World Cup, with the team taking home 6 medals. Quebecois Sergio Pessoa also did his part overseas, winning a silver medal in the under 60 kg class at the European Cup, presented in Orenburg, Russia.

In San Salvador, Alix Renaud-Roy garnered his best ever performance in a World Cup competition, winning the silver medal in the under 70 kg division.  She beat the Guatemalan Jennifer Ortiz and the Salvadorian Veronica Mendoza en route to the grand finale. There she fell to the Austrian Bernadette Graf, in what was a tightly contested bout.

“I’m particularly happy with my fight versus the Salvadorian. I did my best work on the ground where I was able to win with an arm lock, Renaud-Roy elaborated. Unfortunately, things didn’t go nearly as well in the final.  Like last week in Miami, the bout was quite close against the Austrian.  I made a few small errors, and she countered one of my attacks for the decisive ippon.”

In the same category, Sarah-Myriam Mazouz came away with the bronze medal.  After suffering defeat in her first bout against Bernadette Graf, she strung together two victories by ippon against the Salvadorians Jocelyn Abarca and Veronica Mendoza.

Also in the under 70 kg category, Yacinta Nguyen-Huu finished in 5th position. After falling to Veronica Mendoza, she won her L bracket opener against the Guatemalan Jennifer Ortiz. She would eventually lose her last fight to the Ecuadorian Vanessa Chala.

On the men’s side, Guillaume Perrault put in an impressive performance in winning silver in the under 90 kg division. Victories over the Salvadorian Diego Mendez and the Canadian Emin Sheykhislyamov paved the way for his shot at gold.  It was the Russian Sergey Kozel who would have the upper hand, however, beating Perrault with an ippon.

“After a pretty easy first fight, Guillaume took on another Canadian. It ended up being a much harder and stressful bout because the two train together on a regular basis, coach Marie-Hélène Chisholm noted. In the final, Guillaume had a great start.  He dominated his opponent for the first minute and a half, but began to fatigue from that point on. He then made a little error and the Russian capitalized immediately, placing him in an arm lock.”

Emin Shekhislyamov and Dilyaver Sheykhislyamov finished their respective competitions with matching bronze medals in the under 90 kg category. They both had a record of one win and one defeat.

In the under 81 kg division, Scott McGrandle also came away with a bronze medal.  After winning his first two bouts versus the Guatemalan Osman Estrada and the Salvadorian Juan Diego Turcios, he fell in the semifinals to the American Anthony Sanguimino. McGrandle picked himself up for the bronze medal finale, defeating the Salvadorian Raymundo Candray with an ippon. 

Sergio Pessoa impresses in Orenburg 

As for Sergio Pessoa, he won his first three bouts at the European Cup in Orenburg, Russia, before falling in the gold medal match.

The Quebecer managed to score an ippon against his first two opponents, the Russians Dzheykhun Eyyubov and Elnur Ali Ogly Badirkhanov. His next bout ended in a victory by waza-ari against the Uzbek Ulugbek Azizov.

Things did not go as planned in the final, where he was upset by the Russian Dmitriy Kulikov.

“I threw the guy down for an ippon, but the referees didn’t give me full points. They judged that it was a waza-ari.  He took over from that point on, finally throwing me to ground with about 50 seconds left,” Pessoa explained.

“It should have been over at the two minute mark.  I threw him for an ippon, it was as clear as day.  The refereeing was ridiculous. Everyone there saw that it was an ippon, the guy clearly fell on his back.”

Pessoa was thus satisfied and disappointed at the same time. “I did a good job of managing my three first bouts.  Unfortunately I couldn’t do the same in the final, where I led by a waza-ari.”

“Still, what’s important is put together good bouts, and I did just that.  Whatever happens before the London Games doesn’t matter that much. In the end, it’s all about the Olympics.”

Sunday, Canadians Amy Cotton (-78 kg), Kelita Zupancic (-70 kg), Alexandre Émond (-90 kg) and Antoine Valois-Fortier (-81 kg) will take to the tatamis in Orenburg.

Sasha Mehmedovic, who injured his right elbow at the Pan-American Championships, decided to play it safe and not take part in the competition.