Montreal, April 28, 2017 – It was an action-packed day for Canada at the opening of the Pan American Championships in Panama. Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard and Jessika Klimkait faced off in the U57 kg final on Friday evening. In the end, it was Klimkait who climbed to the top of the podium. Meanwhile, Ecaterina Guica scored a bronze medal in her own category (U52 kg).
|Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard and Jessica Klimkait (Photo : Rafael Burza)|
Before they met up in the final, both Klimkait and Beauchemin-Pinard had perfect records in the tournament. In her quest for the gold medal, Klimkait, who hails from Whitby, had halted the progress of Guatemala’s Yennifer Dominguez, Panama’s Miryam Roper, and Cuba’s Anailys Dorvigny.
Beauchemin-Pinard, who is from Saint-Hubert, had beaten Ecuador’s Diana Villaviencio, Cuba’s Aliuska Ojeda, and the U.S.A.’s Marti Malloy as she made her way to the final.
“Other than my final match, it was my best day of competition since my return from the Olympic Games. I still have things to work on, but I relied on what I practiced during training,” stated the Québécoise.
An error by Beauchemin-Pinard in the final allowed Klimkait to take control of a sequence and score a waza-ari before time ran out.
“I’m very happy with my victory. Because we train together every day, we know each other really well. I think I kept up a pretty fast pace, and I tried to keep speeding it up as we advanced through the bout. That probably helped,” noted Klimkait.
“Of course, it’s a bittersweet feeling to win against one of my own teammates, knowing we both came here with the same objective, but that’s how it goes,” she added.
|Klimkait fight Beauchemin-Pinard (Photo : Rafael Burza)|
Beauchemin-Pinard couldn’t hide her disappointment after the match, but she’s happy for her teammate. “Jess is a real rising star right now. She’s at the top of her game. As for me, I’m making a slow comeback from the Games, so she and I are not in the same headspace right now. She’s definitely proven herself. It was a tight match,” explained Beauchemin-Pinard.
Although she would have preferred not to compete against a teammate in an international tournament, Beauchemin-Pinard sees the positive side of the all-Canadian final.
“It was foreseeable. Of course, it’s never ideal, but there is a positive side to it: it shows that we have a strong national team. It’s not like I could develop my own personal strategy. We train together and we push each other. It’s going to give me the little shove I needed to work even harder,” said the former Rio Games Olympian.
Guica Rolls Up Her Sleeves
In U52 kg action, Ecaterina Guica claimed her spot on the third step of the podium, outmanoeuvring the local representative, Kristine Jimenez, in her fight for one of the bronze medals. In the repechage, she had had to work hard to forget about her semi-final loss to Mexico’s Luz Olvera and bounce back to fight for third place.
“My bronze medal fight went really well. I had a lot of trouble in the semi-final but I took a few minutes to clear it out of my head. Defeat sometimes has the effect of bringing me back to basics. I had a plan and I’m proud of the combinations I made during the bronze medal final,” she stated.
In her earlier rounds, Guica got the best of Diana De Jesus of the Dominican Republic and Brilith Gamarra Carbajal of Peru, but she wasn’t able to defeat Mexico’s Olvera.
|Ecaterina Guica on the podium (Photo : Rafael Burza)|
In the U63 kg category, Stéfanie Tremblay finished at the foot of the podium.
Erin Morgan (U48 kg), Gueorgui Poklitar (U66 kg), and Bradley Langlois (U73 kg) placed seventh in their respective categories. Antoine Bouchard (U66 kg), Arthur Margelidon (U73 kg), and Emily Burt (U63 kg) were all eliminated in their first rounds.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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