Ecaterina Guica, Pan-American Vice-champion
Toronto, July 11, 2015 (Sportcom) – On Saturday evening, Quebec judoka Ecaterina Guica won Canada’s first medal for tatami sports at the Pan-American Games in Toronto, the Under 52kg silver.
Guica had gone undefeated in the competition until she was stopped on her tracks by Brazil’s Erika Miranda. In the final match, the Brazilian, 3rd in the world, threw Guica and scored an ippon in a mere 26 seconds.
“It is a pretty disappointing way to end the competition,” admitted the 21-year-old, 30th in the world. “I wish I had put up a better fight against her.”
At last spring’s Pan-American Games, in Edmonton, Miranda also defeated the Quebec athlete, this time in the semi-final. “I wanted to try something different today, but she beat me again.”
“She is a bit stronger with the grip and she pulled me towards her. She is third in the world after all, so she is quite an opponent.”
Guica worked her way to the final thanks to ippon victories against Cuban Gretel Romero, in the quarter-final, and American Angelica Delgado, in the semi-final. “The two were strong opponents, both Pan-American medallists. I am happy I beat them, because my goal was to make it to the final.”
“Bittersweet return” for Pessoa
On the men’s side, Sergio Pessoa, who was vying for an Under 60kg class medal, came in fifth after losing to Cuba’s Yandry Torres Marimon in the fight for the bronze medal.
Pessoa was ahead by one waza-ari when his opponent, ranked 62nd in the world, came from behind to score himself a waza-ari, which he managed to convert into an ippon by scoring a sequence of points, sealing the outcome of the match. “I thought I could make it, but he bounced back twice. It was a tough loss,” admitted the judoka from Montreal.
Pessoa’s first bout of the day ended in an ippon victory over Dominican Abel Montero. In his second match, he lost to Peruvian Juan Postigos. In repechage, he was up against Venezuela’s Javier Guedez and won by a waza-ari, which cleared his way to the fight for the bronze.
“I was expecting to bring home a medal today, so I am not entirely satisfied with my performance. It’s a bittersweet return, but that’s judo!”
Struggling with injuries, Pessoa went a long while without stepping on the tatami. “I hadn’t competed in 22, 23 months, but when I got a call inviting me to the Pan-Ams, I said yes right away. It was an extraordinary opportunity for me to fight in front of the crowd. The atmosphere was amazing. I didn’t make it to the podium, but my morale is high.”
In the Under 48kg, Erin Morgan was eliminated by Dominican Isandrina Sanchez in the round of sixteen.
Louis Krieber-Gagnon wins the Bronze in Hungary
Meanwhile in Paks, Hungary, Louis Krieber-Gagnon climbed the third step of the podium at the Junior European Cup.
Fighting in the Under 81kg class, the Montreal-based judoka won his first two bouts, against Italian Salvatore Darco and Hungarian Daniel Hollo, and then went on to succumb to Russian Suleyman Vyshegurov in the quarter-final.
“Of course I’m sad to have lost, but it was close,” said Krieber-Gagnon. “I should have started out more active, which I’m sure would have made a difference in the pace of the match and in the penalties given.” By the end of the match, he had taken one more penalty than his opponent, which untied the combat.
In repechage, the 19-year-old scored ippons against Moldovan Dorin Gotonoaga and Dutch Thomas Snijders to break through to the fight for the bronze.
Between him and the podium stood France’s Christ Gengoul. The match between the two judokas went the distance and Gengoul, with one penalty, had to concede to Krieber-Gagnon. “I have enormous respect for him, and I was determined to get the medal,” rejoiced the Canadian.
Olivier Gobeil St-Amand (Under 81kg), Tavis Jamieson (Under 100kg), Florence Grenapin (Under 52kg), Mackenzie Burt (Under 57kg) and Jessica Klimkait (Under 52kg) also stepped on the tatami, but didn’t qualify for rank positions.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada