Montreal, May 24, 2019 – Victories by ippon, a loss against the eventual gold medallist, but more importantly, a bronze medal. Ecaterina Guica (-52 kg) and Jessica Klimkait (-57 kg) had an identical journey on the first day of the Hohhot Grand Prix in China.
“It’s a very good start for Team Canada! I expected good results for the girls today, as Jessica and Ecaterina both are experienced players,” said the national team coach Sasha Mehmedovic.
The other Canadian in action, Jacob Valois-Fortier (-66 kg), was eliminated after a defeat against Polish Patryk Wawrzyczek.
Klimkait’s journey to the podium wasn’t a walk in the park. During her bronze-medal bout, the Canadian was in a marathon fight of over 8 minutes before finally winning against French Sarah Leonie Cysique.
“We’re talking about 4 minutes in overtime. Her opponent was a young up-and-coming player from France, and she gave Jessica a tough fight. In the end, Jessica used her experience and patience to overcome her opponent,” added the coach. “She fought well and managed to compete against opponents she had never fought before, which is a good experience for the upcoming World Championships in August.”
Earlier in the day, the Whitby-native (Ontario) defeated Chinese Tian Hongjie, a win followed by a loss against North Korean Kim Jin A, the eventual gold medallist.
Ecaterina Guica’s bronze-medal fight was done a lot faster than her teammate’s. She won by ippon after a short 46 seconds against Israeli Gili Cohen.
The judoka from La Prairie had also started off with an ippon, against Russian Daria Bobrikova. Guica then met the same fate against Japanese Uta Abe, who went on to win the gold medal.
Not all was lost for the Quebecoise, who won in repechage against American Angelica Delgado, once again with an ippon, earning her a spot in one of the bronze-medal fights.
“This was an important result for Ecaterina. This podium finish gives her a lot of points toward the Olympic qualification and keeps her in the running. She gave a great performance,” concluded Mehmedovic.
The Hohhot Grand Prix will continue on Saturday. Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg), Kelita Zupancic (-70 kg), Arthur Margelidon (-73 kg), Antoine Bouchard (-73 kg) and Étienne Briand (-81 kg) will be the athletes representing Canada.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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