Tokyo Grand Slam : Zupancic Fifth, Valois-Fortier Back on the Tatami
Montreal, December 1, 2012 – Kelita Zupancic and Antoine Valois-Fortier were back on the tatami at an international competition Saturday, for the first time since their participation at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Zupancic took fifth place, while Valois-Fortier was bettered at his first Judo Grand Slam match in Tokyo, Japan.
In action in the Under 70kg category, Zupancic – currently ranked 19th in international rankings – marked an Ippon against the Philippines’ Kiyomi Watanabe in her first bout. The Ontario native then won a bout against Japan’s Karen Nunira (ranked 43rd) with a yuko, but then lost by yuko to South Korea’s Ye-Sul Hwang, the sixth-ranked judoka according to the International Judo Federation. Hwang, current and two-time Asian Champion, proceeded to earn the bronze medal Saturday.
Antoine Valois-Fortier took to the tatami in the Under 81kg with a pass into the first round; the Quebec native was bested by Japan’s Tomohiro Kawakami after a challenging match. Valois-Fortier is ranked 14th, his Japanese foe 26th – each scored a waza-ari, but Kawakami followed it up with a yuko, and eventually made his way to the third step on the podium.
“I’m not upset about my performance today, because my preparation was pretty mediocre,” commented Valois-Fortier. “I came to train and to re-immerse myself in competitions post-Olympics. I really didn’t have a lot of time to get prepared, I had other goals to think about with the Canadian tour, as well as heading back to school,” added the London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist, who has recently been on a speaking tour of schools.
For the past two weeks, the student in the Physical Education program at the Université du Québec à Montréal has found himself on the tatami full time once again, at a training camp at the Université de Tokai.
Despite the training camp, Valois-Fortier felt the pressure Saturday, “I could tell I wasn’t in the best shape during my match, so clearly my goal is a return to better form for the important competitions that come after Christmas,” he chuckled.
In the Under 73 kg class, Alexis Morin-Martel found himself in ninth place at day’s end. Morin-Martel first dispatched Brazil’s Alex William Pombo Da Silva, before being eliminated himself courtesy an Ippon from France’s Florent Urani.
Quebec’s Alix Renaud-Roy (70 kg), Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (63 kg) and Étienne Briand (73 kg), were the other member of Team Canada in action today; all were beaten in their first bouts.
Sunday, Amy Cotton (Under 78 kg) and Kyle Reyes (Under 100 kg) will have their chance to dispute their categories at the Tokyo Judo Grand Slam.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada