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Quick exit for Canadian judokas in Tokyo

Montréal, December 5, 2014 – The Canadian contingent got off to a tough start, Friday, on day 1 of the Tokyo Grand Slam presented in Japan. Only Saguenay-native Stéfanie Tremblay was able to come away with a victory on the day.

“It was a difficult start, overall,” national team coach Jeremy Le Bris explained. “Our judokas were handed some tough draws, and we weren’t able to overcome that challenge.”

Fighting in the under 57 kg class, Tremblay, ranked 31st in the world, took down the Filipino Jenielou Mosqueda in her first bout. “It was a pretty easy opponent, and I did what I had to do to win. I scored a point, and then went on to finish the match on the ground,” the 24-year-old athlete added.

In the next round, the Quebecoise took on much more serious competition in the form of Portuguese Telma Monteiro, ranked 2nd in the world and a silver medalist at the last World Championships. “I knew coming in that my second match was going to be tough,” pointed out Tremblay, who lost by two penalties.

“Stéfanie didn’t get started fast enough in the fight. Once she did, she got locked into attempting things that aren’t her strengths,” Jeremy Le Bris mentioned.

“I thought I followed the game plan pretty well, but I took too long to get going and attack my opponent,” she explained. “Once I did, I was able to put her into some danger on one attack in particular, but I wasn’t able to score any points.”

Also in the under 57 kg category, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, 11th in the world, was eliminated in her first duel. The native of Saint-Hubert was shown the door by the Romanian Corina Caprioriu (8th).

In the under 52 kg division, the Montrealer Ecaterina Guica (42nd) also lost her opening bout, falling to the Taiwanese Pei-Ju Lien, 57th, who won with an ippon. “Ecaterina made a big error and the Taiwanese made her pay for it, throwing her for an ippon. It’s a shame because it was a very winnable match for her,” Le Bris pointed out.

On the men’s side, the 14th ranked judoka, Patrick Gagné and Antoine Bouchard (44th) both succumbed to defeat in the first round of the under 66 kg class tourney.

Hailing from Baie-Comeau, Gagné lost to the Georgian Vazha Margvelashvili. “Patrick lacked a bit of energy in the fight. He got off to a good start by scoring a yuko, but his opponent quickly overcame the deficit. It’s too bad because it was a pretty wide open draw,” Le Bris commented.

Meanwhile, Alim Gadanov, ranked 13th in the overall standings, came away victorious versus the Saguenay-native Antoine Bouchard. Penalties would end up deciding the outcome of the match, with the Canadian receiving two and the Russian just one.

“Antoine took on one of the top seeded judokas in the competition, and he put up a good fight. He still has things to work on, but he came close to winning today,” Le Bris added.

“I did a good job of controlling the tempo at the beginning of the match. I forced him into a shido early on. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to hold on to that advantage,” Bouchard explained.

The Grand Slam in Tokyo continues tomorrow and will conclude on Sunday.