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Antoine Valois-Fortier and Kelita Zupancic Make Podium at Tyumen Grand Slam

Montreal, July 19, 2015 – Antoine Valois-Fortier snatched the Under 81kg silver medal, whereas Kelita Zupancic grabbed third place in the Under 70kg class today at the Tyumen judo Grand Slam, in Russia.

“I’ve had a good day, better than in Mongolia two weeks ago,” said Valois-Fortier. “I’m a bit disappointed that I lost in the final, but it’s still a very good sign for the World Championships five weeks from now.”

After winning four matches on his way to the final, the Beauport judoka eventually succumbed to Russian Ivan Vorobev. Valois-Fortier took one penalty during the five-minute bout, a shido that tipped the scale in favour of the Russian athlete.

“In Antoine’s final there was a questionable penalty for passivity that cost him the gold medal match,” analyzed coach Sasha Mehmedovic. “Many feel that he did not deserve it; I feel the refereeing was a little biased.”

Both of the bronze medals went to German athletes, Sven Maresch and Alexander Wieczerzak.

Kelita Zupancic, from Whitby, Ontario, started out her day with a victory over Russian Ekaterina Denisenkova, in the Under 70kg division, with an ippon that brought the bout to an end at 3:44. However, she went on to lose her next match by ippon to Japan’s Harula Tachimoto, at 2:25.

After losing her quarter-final match, the Canadian judoka made it to repechage and won her next three matches, which landed her on the third step of the podium. In the fight for the bronze, she took three penalties but got in a yuko, which won her the match.

Tachimoto would eventually go on to win the gold in a fight against Israel’s Linda Bolder, silver medallist. The other bronze medal went to German Szaundra Diedrich, who had won two matches and lost one, before she won the fight for the bronze.

Monika Burgess Has Best Performance in Wroclaw

Meanwhile, seven Canadian athletes were on the tatami at the European Cup Juniors in Wroclaw, Poland. Waterloo native Monika Burgess was the only Canadian judoka to rank. She came in ninth in the Under 70kg class, with a log of one win and two losses.

None of the other Maple Leafers obtained ranking positions. On the women’s side, Jaquina Simao (0-1) and Emily Burt (1-1) did not manage to thrive in the Under 63kg, and neither did Mina Coulombe, who lost her first match in the Under 78kg.

The male judokas did not fare any better, with none of them making rank. In the Under 81kg class, Louis Krieber-Gagnon left the tournament with one loss, while his teammate Olivier Gobeil-St-Amant finished with one win and two losses. Tavis Jamieson didn’t make it past his first bout in the Under 100kg, against German Daniel Herbst.

“Our young judokas fought well,” said Jean-Pierre Cantin, national junior coach. “Many of the matches were lost on penalties and minor strategic mistakes. I don’t know if they were tired from travelling or if they are still a bit green, but they have learned a whole lot today and during this whole trip. It’s part of growing as a judoka and preparing for the World Championships.”

“We are definitely going to go over what we learned in this tournament and apply it so that we can step up our game and get pumped for the World Championships in October,” he concluded.

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Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada