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Grand Slam – Joliane Melançon wins silver

Montréal, May 4, 2013 – The Quebecoise judoka Joliane Melançon took home the silver medal in the under 57 kg class, Saturday, at the Baku Grand Slam in Azerbaijan.

After benefitting from a first round bye, Melançon, ranked 17th in the world, made her way to the final with victories over the Croat Andrea Bekic (101st) and the German Johanna Mueller (19th), both by way of ippon.

“The first two bouts went as well as I could have hoped. I had already beaten the Croat this winter in a world cup. Here, I managed to immobilize her when we both went to ground. As for the German, I’d never faced her in a competition before as she moved up in weight class just this year, Melançon noted. She scored a yuko right out of the gate, but soon after I was able to take control of the fight with a good kumi-kata. Like in my first match we both went to ground, and again I was able to immobilize her.”

Taking on Miryam Roper (25th) in the gold medal bout, Melançon surely would have hoped for a better outcome. The German needed all of seven seconds to throw the Quebecoise to ground, winning with an ippon. “I was really disappointed. She got me with a sweeping move. At the exact moment she put her hands on me, she swung out her leg. She’s definitely an explosive athlete. I knew it was the type of move she might try, I was ready for it, but in the end I just didn’t do enough to defend it,” she explained.

After suffering a knee sprain at the Pan-American Championships, Melançon only decided early this week that she would participate in the Baku Grand Slam. “My knee is still not a 100%. Last week it was fairly questionable that I would compete in this weekend’s competition. In the end it turned out really well,” she concluded.

Elsewhere, the Quebecers Patrick Gagné (66 kg) and Alexis Morin-Martel (73 kg) both finished with a 7th place classification.

Starting in the second round, Patrick Gagné (21st) won by ippon in his first bout over the Kazakh Yeldos Zhumakanov (221st). In the quarterfinals, he lost by ippon versus the Georgian Shalva Kardava (45th). In the repechage, Gagné was once again defeated, this time falling to the Russian Yakub Shamilov (66th) who won with an ippon.

Alexis Morin-Martel (28th) had a similar outing. Also starting in the second round, he quickly took care of the Hungarian Attila Ungvari (144th). He would be upset in the quarterfinals, however, losing to the 143rd ranked judoka, the Azerbaijani Huseyn Rahimli, who scored a yuko and ippon in the first minute of the bout.  Morin-Martel then went on to lose what would be his last match, falling to the Georgian Zebeda Rekhviashivili (16th).

Sunday, Kelita Zupancic (70 kg), Amy Cotton (78 kg), Catherine Roberge (78 kg) and Antoine Valois-Fortier (81 kg) will be the Canadian judokas on display.