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Canada Brings Three Medals Home from Spain

Montreal, May 22, 2016 – Sunday was an excellent day for Canadian judokas at La Coruna’s European Judo Cup, with three of them stepping onto the podium. Mina Coulombe led the Maple Leafers with a gold in the Under 78 kg class, while Adriana Portuondo-Isasi and Kevin Gauthier each walked away with a bronze medal, in the Under 70 kg and Over 100 kg respectively.

After winning her first two matches, against Spain’s Maria Rodriguez Garcia and Claudia Santamaria Garcia, Mina Coulombe beat British Rachel Tytler in the fight for the gold. A single yuko tipped the scale in the Baie-Comeau native’s favour.

The Quebecer knew what to expect, having defeated Tytler twice last March. “I took my time, I got my hands into position, and I used the tactics I’ve been practicing in my usual training routine,” said Coulombe, delighted to make it onto the podium. “My coach, Sergio Pessoa, helped me stay focused on my movements. I wanted to bring back a medal, of course, but I wasn’t expecting the gold. I am really pleased.”

In the Under 70 kg, Adriana Portuondo-Isasi added a bronze to Canada’s medal haul, with an ippon victory over Spanish Montserrat Pardo Iglesias. “I’m happy with my final result, but the day was full of ups and downs. I’m not completely happy with all of my fights.”

The La Prairie judoka won her first match with an ippon over Spain’s Andrea Barreiro Gonzalez, before succumbing to Italy’s Alessandra Prosdocimo in the semi-finals.

“It all came down to the shidos,” explained Portuondo-Isasi, who took three penalties against her opponent’s one. “She was on top of my grip and she had a really tactical game on, and I fell for it. I’m a bit disappointed, because I should have been more active in that fight.”

On the men’s side, Kevin Gauthier lost his first match to British Valentino Volente. In repechage, the Asbestos athlete bounced back with a victory over Spanish Carlos Rebordero Diego. In the fight for one of the bronze medals, he came out on top over Israeli Naor Itah.

“I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished today,” said Gauthier, who was focusing on stepping up his own judo game in the competition. “I wanted to make podium – mission accomplished. My attacks were good, and so was my footwork.”

On Saturday, François Gauthier-Drapeau came in fifth in the Under 73 kg. “I wasn’t expecting that,” he rejoiced. “I wanted to do better than last time, but it turned out even better than I thought.”

The Alma judoka won three matches before bowing to Italy’s Andrea Gismondo in the semi-finals. He went on to lose to Finnish Aku Laakkonen in the fight for a bronze. “I could have won that fight,” he said. “If I had been more confident, things might have turned out differently.”

Also on the tatami at La Coruna this weekend were Marie Besson (Under 52 kg) and Vincent Miran (Under 60 kg), who didn’t rank in the competition.