Montréal, August 30, 2013 – Catherine Roberge finished 5th, Friday, at the Judo World Championships presented in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With the result, the Quebecoise equaled a mark for the best performance by a Canadian women’s judoka in a World Championship competition. Marie-Hélène Chisholm (2005), Luce Baillargeon (1997), Michelle Buckingham (1997) Nathalie Gosselin (1989) and Lyne Poirier (1987) had previously achieved the benchmark classification.
In her bout for the bronze medal, Catherine Roberge, competing in the under 78 kg category, was beaten by the No.1 judoka in the world, Brazilian Maya Aguiar. “She’s really got my number,” admitted Roberge, who’s faced off against Aguiar in numerous Pan-American Championships. “Today’s bout was one of my best efforts against her.”
Trailing by three penalties to one with just a minute left in regulation, the 7th ranked judoka in the overall standings knew that she had to make a move before it was too late. “I tried to make an attack, but she threw me to ground for an ippon.”
Taking on the #1 ranked judoka in her home country, with a medal on the line, was an amazing experience for Roberge. “Obviously the crowd is cheering and going crazy. It didn’t bother me though, because I was extremely focused and the pressure was more on the Brazilian to win. For me, I just went in with the attitude that I would give it my all, and that’s exactly what I did.”
The loss that hurt the most was the one inflicted upon her in the semifinals by the North Korean Kyong Sol. “There was one thing that I simply couldn’t do in that match. The fight was going pretty well and I was doing what I needed to do. We were tied, but I noticed that she was starting to break down physically while I was still feeling great. I decided to put the pressure on and prepared myself for a throw when I shot my hand out to the right. It was the one thing that I shouldn’t have done.”
Sol noticed the mistake and pounced on the opportunity immediately, scoring an ippon with two minutes to go in the contest. “She’s an extremely explosive athlete, and she wasted no time to make her move, which she needed to, because she was running out of gas. She got me with the same move she’d gotten everyone with that day.”
The North Korean stuck with the same winning formula en route to a gold medal win against the Dutchwoman Marhinde Verkerk. “I had the finals in my grasp and I let it slip away,” Roberge said. “It’s disappointing but there’s nothing I can do about it. Still, I’m definitely going to learn from today.”
Roberge had not fought on the tatamis since the month of May. “I tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in my left knee, which stopped my training completely for the World Championships for about a month. I’d done a lot of bodybuilding since the injury, and after giving it a good taping, the knee seemed to hold up pretty well. I was a little hesitant at first because I hadn’t competed in any tournaments in four months, but all things considering I thought I did quite well today.”
At the beginning of the competition, the 31-year-old athlete won her first matchup against the Dutchwoman Iris Lemmen, and then went on to win comfortably over both the Spaniard Marta Tort Merino and the Frenchwoman Audrey Tcheumeo.
Also in action in the under 78 kg class, Amy Cotton finished her day with a record of 1-1. She started things off with a win over Diana Chala of Ecuador, but then dropped her next bout, falling to the eventual silver medalist Marhinde Verkerk.
In the under 70 kg category, Kelita Zupancic came away with an identical record to that of Cotton’s. The Ontarian won her first contest versus the Hungarian Franciska Szabo before falling in her second match to the South Korean Ye-Sui Hwang.
The sole member of the men’s national team in action, Alexandre Émond (-90 kg) was eliminated in his first bout. The Quebecer was taken out by the Ukrainian Quedjau Nhabali.
Despite the World Championships officially ending at week’s end in Rio de Janeiro, it was the final day of competition for the Canadian team, who will arrive back home on Sunday.
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