Priscilla Gagne Vice-champion of the Americas
Montreal, August 12, 2015 – Ontario judoka Priscilla Gagne got her hands on the Under 52kg silver medal at the ParaPan-American Games on Wednesday afternoon, after winning three of her four matches in the round robin competition at the Whitby Sports Centre.
After winning her first bout by ippon against American Christina Thomas, the Sarnia athlete took two penalties in her next match and lost to Brazil’s Michele Ferreira. She then bounced back with ippons in her next two fights, against Andreia Canteiro, also from Brazil, and Rocio Ledesma, from Argentina.
“This one was really important for a number of reasons. My family is here and it is the last qualifier for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games”, said Gagne.
“Hearing both of my coaches giving support, one from the side, one from the coach’s box, along with my family in the stands, made all the difference. They really complement each other and it’s having that support that ultimately pushed me to perform better on the mat.”
Ferreira, undefeated in her four matches, climbed onto the highest step of the podium, whereas Ledesma came away with the bronze after winning two out of four bouts.
It was unfortunately a less successful day for Justin Karn, who lost twice and had to content himself with a seventh place in the Under 60kg class.
Placed at the very top of the rank, the Fergus, Ontario athlete was granted an exemption out of the opening round. In his next match, a tight fight against Uruguay’s Henry Borges, he ended up losing after taking two penalties, whereas his opponent was punished only once.
In repechage, Karn yielded to Colombian Juan Castellanos. Neither judoka had scored by the end of the five minutes of regular time, but a penalty cost the Canadian the victory.
Two other Canadian judokas will be on the tatami at the ParaPan-American Games. Alexander Radoman, from Hamilton, will be competing in the Under 81kg division on Thursday, and Ottawa’s Tony Walby will be representing the country in the Under 90kg class on Friday.