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Pan-American Championships : Patrick Gagné strikes for silver medal

Montréal, April 21, 2013 – In his first ever Pan-American Judo Championships at the senior level, Quebecer Patrick Gagné came away with a silver medal in the under 66 kg class, Saturday night, in San Jose, Costa Rica.

“I came in with the goal of winning a medal today, Gagné mentioned. The table really opened up for me when one of the favourites, the Brazilian Charles Chibana, lost in the second round. I took my opportunity and ran with it. I put together a good bout in the final, and was disappointed to have not won it. Still, I’m fairly happy to end up with a second place finish.”

Starting in the second round thanks to a bye, Gagné made quick work of the Cuban Gilberto Solar followed by a victory over the Venezuelan Sergio Mattey. A win versus the Peruvian Alonso Wong would eventually put him in position for a potential gold medal.

“I took on the Brazilian Luiz Revite in the final, a judoka who is classed higher than I am. The fight got off to a good start. For a while I was winning by a penalty, and then, in the span of thirty seconds, the referee gave me two shidos, Gagné explained.  Being near the end of the bout, I felt like I had nothing to lose, so I went for broke. He countered me, and it ended there. I have no regrets, but the end result left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m a little disappointed at the moment, but I know that by tomorrow I’ll be super happy!”

In the same category, Sasha Mehmedovic finished in 5th place. After winning three successive bouts over the Venezuelan Celis Mattey, the Guatemalan Douglas Arevalo, and the Ecuadorean Douglas Verdugo, the Montreal native lost in the semi-finals to Luiz Revite. In the bronze medal bout, Mehmedovic was beaten by the Brazilian Charles Chibana.

In the under 73 kg division, Alexis Morin-Martel also came away with 5th place classification. A winner in his first two fights over the Costa Rican Fabricio Avila and the Venezuelan Ludwing Ortiz, the Quebecer fell in the quarterfinals to the Cuban Magdiel Estrada. In the repechage, Morin-Martel got back on track with wins over Augusto Miranda (Puerto Rico) and Omar Gonzalez (Ecuador). He would come up short for a medal though, falling in the 3rd place bout to the Brazilian Bruno Mendoca.

Also in action in the under 73 kg class, Étienne Briand lost in his first match against the Ecuadorean Fernando Ibanez.

As for the rest of the men’s side, Nicolas DiBartolo (- 60 kg) and Benjamin Daviau (- 55 kg) also lost their one and only bouts, and did not receive classifications.

On the women’s side, Joliane Melançon finished 5th in the under 57 kg category. After being granted a bye through the first round, the Quebecoise eliminated the Mexican Ana Leon in her first fight. A victory over the Argentinean Gabriela Narveaz put her into the semi-finals, where she came up short versus the Brazilian judoka Rafaela Silva. Nursing an injured knee, Melançon decided to forego her bout for the bronze medal.

Jessica Klimkait (48 kg) also finished with a 5th place classification. After losing her opening match to the Brazilian Gabriela Chibana, the Ontarian took out the Costa Rican Yaimed Estopinian along with the Dominican Isandrina Sanchez in the repechage.  In her final bout, Klimkait lost to the Argentinean Paula Pareto.

Finally, in the under 52 kg division, Audrée Francis-Méthot was defeated in her first bout, losing to the Colombian Tatiana Lucumi.

The action in San Jose continues tomorrow, with the team competition.