Montreal, April 29, 2017 – At Saturday’s Pan American Championships, held in Panama City, Canadian judokas Kelita Zupancic and Étienne Briand both ended the day with medals around their necks.
Zupancic (U70 kg) was awarded the silver medal after she was defeated by Colombia’s Yuri Alvear, who won by ippon. Earlier in the day, Canada’s representative had scored a victory by ippon over Vanessa Chala in the first round, then later over Cuba’s Olga Masferrer in the semi-final.
“I was up against the best in the world in the final so I knew it was going to be a tough match. I told myself I would give it my all and do everything I could, but it wasn’t enough for the gold medal. The rest of the day went as expected,” she said.
In the same category, Maria Carla Chirila bowed out to Elvismar Rodriguez, who was representing the International Judo Federation, in the bronze medal round. Chirila had dominated her first two opponents of the day but lost by ippon to Colombia’s Yuri Alvear in the semi-final.
Étienne Briand (U81 kg) also won his first two matches of the tournament but was defeated by ippon by Brazil’s Eduardo Yudi Santos, the current weight class champion.
“I felt a lot of pressure early in the day because I was looking a little too far ahead. I had big goals. I spent a lot of energy in the first rounds and there wasn’t much time to rest between rounds, so by the time I got to the semi-final, I was pretty spent physically,” he explained.
In his bronze medal match, the judoka from Sept-Îles took out American Jack Hatton by waza-ari. “It wasn’t my best judo performance in a technical sense, but I was able to snag a medal by fighting hard. I’m not 100% satisfied, but I did the best I could with what I had,” Briand admitted.
In the +100 kg category, Kevin Gauthier also made it to the bronze medal round but was halted by Brazil’s Ruan Isquierdo. He lost his only combat in the preliminary round.
Zachary Burt met a similar fate in the U90 kg group. He lost by waza-ari to Brazil’s Rafel Macedo and ended up at the foot of the podium. After the preliminary rounds, the judoka had a record of one loss and one win. He sent American Matthew Koch packing in the repechage by scoring an ippon.
Also competing were Mina Coulombe (U78 kg), Louis Krieber-Gagnon (U90 kg), and Marc Deschênes (U100 kg), all of whom were eliminated in the preliminary rounds.
A Rough Day at the Cadet European Cup
The Canadian team also competed in Berlin, Germany, on Saturday. The day’s best results belonged to Aidos Sapenov (U55 kg) who, with two wins and two losses on his record, placed ninth.
Christian Dametto (U55 kg), Dontae De Jesus (U60 kg), and Keagan Young (U66 kg) also competed in the tournament but didn’t rank.