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African Open – Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi claims silver in Morocco

Montréal, January 26th, 2014 – The Quebecoise judoka Ana Laura Portuondo-Isasi climbed to the second step of the podium, Sunday, at the African Open presented in Casablanca, Morocco.

Fighting in the under 78 kg class, Portuondo-Isasi lost in the gold medal final against the Tunisian Sarra Mzougui, who won with an ippon. The Canadian had previously beaten the Turk Firdevs Toprak and the Spaniard Marta Tort Merino.

“I wasn’t really expecting a podium finish today since my main objective at the tournament was to gain experience. I’m fairly satisfied with the result but a bit disappointed with my last bout. It shouldn’t have ended the way it did,” the 17-year-old judoka commented.

“It was really just an error on my part. Everything was going fine at the beginning of the fight. I swept my opponent a few times and even got her to bend a little. After a short timeout I tried to attack immediately and she flipped me for a waza-ari. From that point on she kept me immobilized on the ground and I couldn’t get out. It’s disappointing because she was definitely beatable. The two opponents I had defeated previously were a lot more physical,” Portuondo-Isasi explained.

“Despite the loss, I’m really happy with how I fought in my other matches. I thought I did a good job of finding different ways to win. My coach (Sasha Mehmedovic) seemed satisfied as well,” she concluded.

Also in the under 78 kg category, Sarah Myriam Mazouz came away with a 5th place classification. The Quebecer began her tourney with a loss versus the Belgian Sofie De Saedelaere. Despite the loss, a win in the repechage against the Cameroonian Hortence Mballa Atangana put her in a position to fight for a bronze medal. She would come up short, however, falling to the Spaniard Marta Tort Merino in the battle for 3rd place.

In action in the under 70 kg division, Alix Renaud-Roy also walked away with a 5th place finish. After obtaining a free pass into the second round, she fell by an ippon to the Frenchwoman Gevrise Emane. The Quebecoise bounced back in the repechage, scoring an ippon in her win over the Turk Sukran Bakacak. In the bronze medal match, Renaud-Roy succumbed to defeat versus the Russian Alena Prokopenko, who won with an ippon.

In the same class, Monika Burgess was eliminated in her one and only bout, losing to the Italian Marisa Celletti. The Canadian did not receive a classification.

On the men’s side, Brandon Jobb reached the bronze medal final in the under 90 kg category where he took on the Turk Batuhan Efemgil. The British Columbian would unfortunately fall by way of an ippon, finishing the competition in 5th place.

Earlier in the day, Jobb took out the Ghanaian Victor Ahiavor before losing to the Belgian Dylan Van Nuffel. In the repechage, the Canadian got back on track with a win against the Ivorian Kinapeya Romeo Kone.

In the under 81 kg division, Louis Krieber-Gagnon, Ian Campbell, Jonah Burt and Zachary Burt all lost their first bout and did not advance in the competition.

The Canadian judokas will now make their way to Belgium where they will take part in the Belgian Ladies Open in Arlon and the Belgian Men’s Open in Visé at the end of the week.