Montreal, October 16, 2017 – Fourteen Canadian judokas are en route to Zagreb for the Junior World Championships, which will be held in the Croatian capital from October 18 to 22.
Seven men and seven women will be giving their all in hopes of claiming a spot on the podium.
“Preparations have gone well. Our team members are experienced so we can expect good results,” noted national team coach Jean-Pierre Cantin. “We have some world-class athletes with us, notably Emily Burt and Benjamin Kendrick.”
Given that Burt has participated in the Junior World Championships once before, she knows what she has to do to get onto the podium in the -63 kg category. “I definitely feel a lot more pressure this year than I did the first time around, but we worked very hard to prepare for the World Championships, so I’m ready,” declared the 20-year-old from Oshawa, Ontario.
Last summer’s two-time Junior European Cup gold medal winner and reigning Jeux de la Francophonie champion is feeling confident as the competition draws near. “I’ll be fighting the same opponents I fought in those tournaments, which increases my motivation to face them again,” added Burt.
Fresh from his bronze medal win in the -90 kg weight category at last month’s Cadet World Championships, Benjamin Kendrick is betting on his youth as well as the element of surprise as he heads to the Junior World Championships. “I’m not very familiar with the athletes because they’re older than I am, but that means that they don’t know me either. It’s exciting! I’ve trained hard and I feel confident.”
According to Cantin, there will be several young athletes to watch in Zagreb. “Max Côté and Alex Marineau are all poised to do well. We’re expecting good things from them.”
For Marie Besson (-52 kg), the expectations are clear. Her goal is to come home from the Junior World Championships with a medal. “I’ll take it one bout at a time so that I don’t get ahead of myself, but my aim is to compete in a gold or bronze medal final,” she stated.
The Québécoise is working on a few final details as she prepares for the tournament. “I’m making some last-minute adjustments,” she revealed.
Canada did not win a single medal at the last Junior World Championships, which were held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in 2015. “Two years ago, we had a very young team. They weren’t as well-prepared as I would have liked,” disclosed Cantin, who, at the time, had recently taken on the position of coach. “This time, I was able to start training the team in advance. Our participation in a few European tournaments, as well as the Jeux de la Francophonie, helped us prepare. This team has cut its teeth. They’ve accumulated a lot of international tournament experience and I believe that will make all the difference,” he concluded.
The individual events will take place in Zagreb over four days, from October 18 to 21.
Canadians Competing in the Junior World Championships
|Weight Class||Name||Competition Date||Weight Class||Name||Competition Date|
|-48 kg||Virginia Nemeth||October 18||-66 kg||Gabriel Juteau||October 19|
|-52 kg||Marie Besson||October 19||-66 kg||Jacob Valois||October 19|
|-63 kg||Emily Burt||October 20||-73 kg||François Gauthier-Drapeau||October 19|
|-63 kg||Hanako Kuno||October 20||-81 kg||Alex Marineau||October 20|
|-70 kg||Maria Carla Chirila||October 20||-81 kg||Max Côté||October 20|
|-70 kg||Adriana Portuondo-Isasi||October 20||-90 kg||Benjamin Kendrick||October 20|
|-78 kg||Allayah Copeland||October 21||+100 kg||Joe Casey Andres||October 21|
Coaches: Jean Pierre Cantin and Janusz Pawlowski
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