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Antoine Valois-Fortier takes home silver in Oberwart

Montréal, February 16, 2014 – Quebecois judoka Antoine Valois-Fortier came up just short in his bid for gold, Sunday, settling for a silver medal at the European Open in Oberwart, Austria.

“I’m happy with how my day went, but disappointed with my final. I went in believing that I could win the gold medal. In the end, I still feel like overall I had a really good performance today,” the 11th ranked Quebecer commented.

After obtaining a bye through the first round in the under 81 kg category, he went on a run that included successive victories by ippon over the Czech Jiri Sana, the Georgian Giorgi Papunashvili and the Italian Matteo Marconcini. He then went on to defeat the Italian Antonio Ciano by a waza-ari in the semifinals, booking his spot in the grand finale. 

“My first three bouts went really well. I knew my quarterfinals tilt with the Italian would be tough a battle. I was pretty happy with that win, Valois-Fortier explained. My next match in the semis was against a very experienced judoka who’s been around for a while and who medaled at the World Championships in 2009. That was also a really good victory for me.”

Up against the Georgian Zebeda Rekhviashvili, ranked 13th in the under 73 kg class, the Quebecer was beaten by an ippon just 30 seconds into the fight.

“In the first ten seconds he tried an attack that wasn’t very dangerous. He attacked me again quickly thereafter, and this time I fell directly on my back, Valois-Fortier said. He’s a really good athlete in the under 73 kg category. I knew that he’d had some difficulty with his diet and moved up to a higher weight class because of it. He ended up having a really impressive day.”

Next week, Antoine Valois-Fortier will take part in the Düsseldorf Grand Prix, in Germany.

In the under 100 kg division, Kyle Reyes came away with a 5th place classification. Currently ranked 29th in the International Judo Federation, the Canadian began his day with a bye into the second round before defeating the Russian Mikhail Kosyashnikov with a yuko.

In the quarterfinals, Reyes succumbed to defeat versus the Japanese Ryosuke Takahashipo, who won with a yuko. He got back on track in the repechage, though, eliminating the Italian Luca Ardizio by ippon.

In the bronze medal bout, the Canadian came up short against the Emirati Ivan Remarenco, who won with an ippon.