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Stéfanie Tremblay Just off the Podium in Almaty

Montreal, May 15, 2016 – Stéfanie Tremblay came in fifth in the Under 63 kg class at the Almaty Grand Prix this Saturday in Kazakhstan. The Canadian judoka was kept from taking home a bronze medal by Dutch Juul Franssen, 18th in the world, who served her an ippon.

“She caught me by surprise and threw me,” said Tremblay, 29th.

“This is my best Grand Prix performance in the Under 63 kg,” added the Quebecer. “Of course, fifth is always a bit disappointing. I was so close to the podium, but still I fought pretty well.”

The day started out well for the 25-year-old, when she got American Hannah Martin, 32nd, to take three penalties to win her first match. But in her next match, Mongolian Tserennadmid Tsend-Ayush, 12th, stood in her way and won by penalties.

“My fight with the American was more tactical,” explained Tremblay. “Against the Mongolian, it was also pretty tight. I started off strong, but made some small mistakes that ended up costing me the victory.”

In repechage, she then beat Turkey’s Busra Katipoglu by waza-ari and earned a spot in the fight for a bronze medal. “I am particularly happy with my victory over the Turkish girl, because she had beaten me before,” she rejoiced.

With the Rio 2016 Olympic qualification race coming to an end, Stéfanie Tremblay knows that she is running low on points to qualify. “Although I don’t think I’ll qualify for the Games, I think I’ve done a good job this first year in my new weight division,” said the athlete, who recently moved up from the Under 57 kg. “I am proud of everything I’ve done in such a short period of time.”

Étienne Briand’s Gamble Pays Off

Étienne Briand did not leave his first Under 81 kg championship without making his mark. Brian was the only Canadian representative at the Orenburg European Cup in Russia, and he packed a bronze medal into his suitcase this Sunday.

“I got a lot of positives out of this tournament. This was a particularly high-level European Cup, with such a strong Russian team, but I fought well,” rejoiced the judoka, who beat Russia’s Artem Rzhata by ippon on his way onto the third step of the podium.

“I was in control the whole match, and I ended the competition on a high note.” he said.

Earlier in the day, Étienne Briand disposed of Russian Akhsartag Godizov, Tajik Sadr Boev and Russian Aidamir Shevotsukov. In the semi-finals, he ended up succumbing to Russian Dmitry Zuev.

Zuev moved onto the finals with a yuko at the very end of the match. “I was leading the fight, because he had two shido against only one of mine,” said Briand. “With 15 seconds on the clock, I thought I was going to break through to the finals. It was tight, but I couldn’t afford to get out there and risk taking a penalty. I made a good move, but in the end, he got the point.”

The Sept-Îles native, who previously competed in the Under 73 kg, moved up to the new weight division a mere three months ago. “I knew it would be difficult to qualify for the Rio Games and I decided to move up,” said the 23-year-old. “I like the combat style better in the Under 81 kg.”

“I believe I have a more promising future in this class,” he concluded.