Montréal, April 21, 2013 — The Canadian men’s judo squad beat the American team in the semi-finals to reach the gold medal match at the Pan-American Judo Championships, Sunday, in San Jose, Costa Rica. In the grand finale, the Canadians succumbed to the Brazilians, who took home top honours.
To reach the finals, big performances were required from Antoine Valois-Fortier (-81 kg) and Étienne Briand (-73 kg) against a tough American side. It was a rematch between Valois-Fortier and Travis Stevens, the two having faced off last year in the bronze medal fight at the London Olympic Games.
As was the case in late July, Valois-Fortier once again prevailed. The surprise came in the other match, which saw Briand take down the man who just this weekend captured Pan-American gold in the under 73 kg class, Nicholas Delpopolo.
En route to the semis, the Canadian team eliminated the Venezuelans and the Chileans. The Cuban and Venezuelan contingents both earned bronze medals.
Other members of the Canadian team included Patrick Gagné (0-1), Sasha Mehmedovic (2-1), Alexis Morin-Mortel (1-1), Alexandre Émond (2-2), Dilyaver Sheykhilyamov (3-0) and James McManus (0-1). Valois-Fortier finished with a record of 3-1, while Briand added a victory to his total (2-0).
Canadian women walk away with a 7th place finish
As for the Canadian women’s side, they would settle for 7th overall. Hurt by the absence of Joliane Melançon (-57 kg), who had to leave the individual portion of the competition with a knee sprain, the Canadians faced an uphill battle throughout.
“It didn’t leave the girls much of a shot against top teams like the Americans and Cubans,” national coach Nicolas Gill explained.
Alix Renaud-Lavoie and Amy Cotton both managed two wins and a loss while Audrée Francis-Méthot and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard finished the day with a win and two losses each. This amounted to a win over the Costa Ricans, coupled with losses against the American and Cuban squads.
The team competition marked the closing of the 2013 Pan-American Judo Championships. The Canadian contingent finished the tourney with a total of eight medals.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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