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Zupancic wins silver; 5th for Valois-Fortier

Montréal, May 26th, 2013 – The Ontarian judoka Kelita Zupancic climbed to the second step of the podium, Sunday, at the Masters tournament presented in Tyumen, Russia, while Antoine Valois-Fortier finished in 5th.

Zupancic, who is currently ranked first overall in the under 70 kg class, took advantage of a first round bye before defeating the Austrian Bernadette Graf (17th) by ippon in her first bout. It was the Canadian’s first competition since ascending to the top spot in her category.

“Some people think that there’s more pressure on me because I’m no.1, but it’s the opposite, I have more confidence,” Zupancic pointed out.

In the semi-finals, she took out the 21st judoka in the world, the Korean Seongyeon Kim, to reach the final.  Zupancic would eventually fall to the Dutchwoman Kim Polling (3rd), who defeated the Canadian with an ippon to claim the gold medal.

“Polling is a really tough customer, so I’m happy to have a gotten a good result here, especially since I endured a grueling training camp in Turkey,” she explained.  “The way my training schedule is planned out, I’ll be in peak physical condition for the World Championships.”

Valois-Fortier finishes in 5th

As for Valois-Fortier, the 5th ranked judoka in the under 81 kg division made it to the semifinals after first defeating the Russian Ivan Vorobev (14th) by waza-ari, followed by a win over Yakhyo Imamov (6th) of Uzbekistan with an ippon.

The Russian Ivan Nifontov (16th) would put an end to his title hopes, defeating the Quebecer with an ippon. In the bronze medal bout, Valois-Fortier fell by yuko to the 3rd ranked Georgian Avtandil Tchrikishvili.

On Saturday, in the under 66 kg class, Patrick Gagné had his day cut short after an early exit in the first round. He was defeated by the Russian Alim Gadanov, who won with an ippon.

It was a difficult draw for the 20th ranked Quebecer, who went up against the defending European champion and 9th best judoka in the class.

Junior European Cup

Ecaterina Guica took home gold in the under 52 kg division, Saturday, at the Junior European Cup in Corunna, Spain. Guica finished her day with a perfect record of 4-0.