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Étienne Briand and Antoine Bouchard finish 9th in Germany

Montréal, July 20, 2013 (Sportcom) – Quebecois judokas Étienne Briand and Antoine Bouchard both took home 9th place classifications in their respective categories, Saturday, at the European Cup in Sindelfingen, Germany.

 “We both had good outings today. This tournament in particular is often used as preparation for the World Championships, whereas normally a lot of judokas will pass on European Cup competitions,” Étienne Briand pointed out.

In the under 66 kg class, Bouchard got off on the right foot with a win over the Dutchman Antoine Binnenhei. The Canadian forced his opponent into four penalties, while at the same time scoring a yuko en route to the victory. “It was a solid first match to prepare me for the rest of the day. I dominated him on the grip throughout, and I forced him to adapt to my style of play.”

Bouchard then took on the Italian Antonio Chianese in the next round. The Quebecois would again come out on top, as the Italian accumulated four shidos. “Once again, I stuck to my game plan. I had control of him by the sleeve and I managed to block all of his attacks, which led to the penalties and his eventual disqualification.”

In his third fight, the 19-year-old athlete would come up short, losing to the #1 ranked Russian Gombodorzh Batdorzh, who won with an ippon. I made a small error where I got in too close, and he countered me quickly, putting me in an arm bar,” Bouchard said. He went on to explain that just moments prior, he thought he had managed to score an ippon himself. “A sequence or two before that, I threw the Russian to ground, but the referees judged that I had started my move outside of the mat.”

In the repechage, the Swede Frederik Gourlay defeated Bouchard, forcing the Quebecer to settle for a 9th place finish. “It was the second time we’d faced each other, and the first time he beat me rather easily. It was better this time around. I dominated throughout, but he got me in the end with an ippon.”

Five bouts for Briand

Fighting in the under 73 kg division, Quebecer Étienne Briand started well, eliminating the Brazilian Leonardo Ferreira Luz in the first round. “It was a really tough battle. I’m not sure why, but nothing was going right for me early on in the match. I managed to get my act together and finally score with two minutes remaining in the bout,” he explained.

Briand then went on to beat the Belarussian Aliaksei Ramanchyk, a World Cup bronze medallist earlier this year. “He was a tough customer. I scored with just 25 seconds left in the fight, barely escaping with the win.”

The Quebecer added a third victory to his resume by beating the German Christian Hellinger by ippon. “This one took me just 2 minutes. It went rather quickly.”

Briand’s run came to an end against another German, Julian Koleil, in the 4th round. “I had a lot of difficulty with his style,” the 20-year-old judoka, who took three penalties to just one by the German, admitted. In the repechage, shidos would again be the story, as Italian Agusto Meloni won the battle of attrition, taking one less penalty than his Canadian counterpart. “They gave me a penalty at some point that really baffled me. It’s too bad because it was a really tightly fought match which could have gone either way.”

Bouchard and Briand will spend the week in Sindelfingen for a training camp before heading off to the Czech Republic for a Junior European Cup competition next weekend in Liberec.