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Montréal, August 1st, 2014 – Judoka Antoine Bouchard was crowned champion of the -66 kg class, Friday, at the Miami Pan-American Open presented in Florida. Stéfanie Tremblay and Arthur Margelidon also claimed podium finishes, winning bronze medals.

Bouchard took down the Peruvian Alonso Wong in the gold medal bout. En route to the finale, he defeated in successive fashion the Italian Matteo Pirras, the Brazilian Vinicius Leal Sakamoto and the Peruvian Jesus Mendoza Gavidia.

“I’m fairly satisfied with my performance today. I had a mistake-free finale, and that’s why I walked away with the win. My first two bouts went pretty well. The semifinal fight was more complicated. I won by a shido with just 10 seconds left in the match,” Bouchard indicated.

“I knew the competition was going to be pretty good. Still, I was aiming for a gold medal right out of the gate,” he added.

“This win really helps out with my Olympic selection! It’s also going to boost my ranking in the Canadian standings,” pointed out the Quebecer, who’s currently 2nd in the national rankings.

Also competing in the -66 kg category, fellow Quebecers Patrick Gagné and Simon Gaudreault lost their one and only match of the day.

Stéfanie Tremblay, meanwhile, won one of the two available bronze medals in the under 57 kg division, taking down the American Amelia Fulgentes. She beat the Puerto Rican Jeanette Rodriguez in the prelims before falling to the American Hana Carmichael in the semifinals.

Margelidon (-73 kg) climbed onto the third step of the podium after coming away victorious versus the American Everet Desilet. He was knocked out of the gold medal hunt in his second bout, Losing to American Nicholas Delpopolo. The latter would go on to claim a 2nd place finish.

“I’m happy to have finally finished a day with a win! I also easily could have been in a position to compete for gold. I lost to Nick Delpopolo in a bout that I thought could have gone either way, but the American was on his home turf so he had the advantage. He went on to beat Alexis in a similar match after that,” the Quebecois judoka explained.

“Overall I’m proud of how my day went, considering I just returned from injury after being out for two months. It’s also nice to get my Olympic selection process off to a good start with a 2nd place finish in Chile last week and a 3rd place finish this week in Miami,” he added.

Also in the -73 kg class, Alexis Morin-Martel placed 5th despite concluding the preliminary rounds with a perfect record. He was stopped in the semis by Delpopolo and was unable to get back on track in the bronze medal bout, falling to the Hungarian Miklos Ungvari.

“It was a tough day! I’m coming off of knee surgery. I felt that my semifinal against the American was oddly refereed. While he wasn’t really doing much at all, I was putting on a lot of pressure, and despite that, I was the one that got penalized. In the bronze medal bout, I was leading by a waza-ari before he caught me on the ground with a minute left in regulation. It was really disappointing, but I just need to suck it up and move on,” Morin-Martel concluded.      

It was a tough day in Miami for David Ancor and Étienne Briand (-73 kg) who were both eliminated after just one contest.

Erin Morgan (-48 kg) settled for a 5th place classification after succumbing to defeat in the bronze medal match to the Spaniard Aiora Arrillaga.

Quebecer Charles Breton-Leduc (-60 kg) also competed for one of the two bronze medals up for grabs, but he too would fall just short of the podium, losing to the Ecuadorian Lenin Preciado. Like Morgan, he walked away with a 5th place finish.

In the same category, Dmitri Kim and Nicolas Di Bartolo were both eliminated in their opening bouts.