Montreal, March 12, 2016 – Canadian judokas Sergio Pessoa and Ecaterina Guica both made it to the podium this Saturday at the Buenos Aires PanAmerican Open. Competing in the Under 60 kg, Pessoa snatched the silver medal, while Guica walked away with the Under 52 kg bronze.
Sergio Pessoa, 56th in the world, had logged a perfect record in the competition until he lost the final match by ippon to Azeri Vugar Shirinli, 40th.
On his way to the final, Pessoa disposed of Argentinian Leandro Pardo, Azeri Elbrus Zamanov, 79th, and Peruvian Juan Postigos, 47th.
“Sergio Pessoa managed to gain some valuable points towards his Olympic qualification with his silver medal,” said national coach Sasha Mehmedovic.
The medal represents a boost in the Quebecer’s performance, after a fifth place at the Lima PanAmerican Open last Saturday.
“Sergio was very determined to climb on the podium today after his disappointing performance from last weekend,” continued Mehmedovic. He showed a lot more motivation today.”
Redemption for Guica
It didn’t take Ecaterina Guica, 31st in the world ranking, more than 38 seconds to beat Peru’s Brillith Gamarra Carbajal, 115th, with an ippon in the fight for one of the Under 52 kg bronze medals.
Before the bronze match, the Montrealer had been up against Russian Natalia Kuziutina, sixth in the world, in the semi-finals. Guica resisted for 3 minutes and 24 seconds before being served an ippon.
“Ecaterina’s redeemed herself from last week’s performance with a bronze medal today,” said Mehmedovic.
In Lima, the Quebecer didn’t move past the first round of the competition. “This time, she fought hard all day and gave the Russian girl, who is seeded 6th in the world, a very solid match in the semi final,” reminded the coach.
In the earlier rounds, the 22-year-old defeated Argentina’s Romina Aqueveque and Mexico’s Luz Olvera.
Stéfanie Tremblay, 39th, finished fifth at the competition in the Under 63 kg class, after winning her first two matches and then losing the semi-finals by ippon to Brazilian Ketleyn Quadros, 46th. Tremblay went on to lose again in her fight for the bronze, against Russian Marta Labazine, 31st.
Antoine Bouchard (Under 66 kg) and David Ancor (Under 73 kg) were both defeated in the opening round and did not rank in the competition.
The Buenos Aires PanAmerican Open ends this Sunday, when Catherine Roberge (Under 78 kg) will be the only Canadian judoka on the mat.
Jessica Klimkait Carries the Day in Coimbra
Meanwhile in Portugal, Ontario judoka Jessica Klimkait earned the gold medal at the European Junior Cup in Coimbra.
On her way to the top of the Under 57 kg podium, she disposed of Portuguese Ines Ascencao, British Acelua Toprak, and Dutch Dewi Bermard. In the final match, she came out on top over British Jodie Caller.
“This is a great performance for Jessica,” said national junior coach Jean-Pierre Cantin. “She was very strategic the whole day.”
It was also a good day for Quebec athlete Yumi Amal Bellali, who came in fifth in the Under 52 kg. After two wins, the Pointe-Claire native lost the semi-final match to Spanish Irene Esteve. She then came up short against Italy’s Giula Pierucci in the fight for a bronze medal.
“This is a great surprise, as Yumi is still just U18,” said Cantin. “She showed impressive technical skills. Her age and lack of experience made a difference in the fight for the bronze, but she has a bright future ahead of her.”
On the men’s side, Alex Marineau finished seventh in the Under 73 kg. After losing his second bout in the elimination rounds, the Pincourt judoka won two matches in a row in repechage, before being stopped in his tracks by France’s Samuel N Zingo.
“This is another one of the day’s nice surprises,” said the coach. “His lack of experience also played a role, but we can expect great things from him in a near future.”
Also competing were Laurence Thiffault (Under 48 kg), Marie Besson (Under 52 kg), Julien Frascadore (Under 60 kg), Yassin Youssef (Under 60 kg), Jacob Valois (Under 66 kg), Gabriel Juteau (Under 66 kg) and Bradey Langlois (Under 73 kg). None of them ranked.
“All of our athletes did well,” concluded Jean-Pierre Cantin. “They worked hard and showed grit and determination. For many of them, a lack of international competition experience ended up being a factor. Some of our athletes were here for a medal, but for several of them, the objective was to gain experience. We have a relatively young team, and they need to come out to this kind of competition so they can improve.”
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