Montreal, May 14, 2017 – Étienne Briand and Zachary Burt were both awarded gold medals on Sunday, the final day of the European Cup, held in Orenburg, Russia. Briand took first place in the U81 kg category while Burt’s victory was in the U90 kg group.
“While for Étienne this event successfully marks the one-year anniversary of his debut on the U81 kg weight division, for Zachary this result serves to reinforce his consistency after obtaining two other international medals since last fall,” noted Michel Almeida, National Coach for the Canadians.
Briand, who hails from Sept-Îles, logged a perfect record in the preliminary rounds with three wins in three matches. He then showed Jonathan Allardon the door in the semi-final, scoring an ippon against the French judoka. In the gold medal final, Briand pulled off the win by forcing Russia’s Alu Bochkaev to take two penalties.
Zachary Burt also started his day on a high note with three victories in the preliminary rounds. In the semi-final, he defeated Ihar Zhukau of Belarus by ippon. The Oshawa resident continued his winning streak into the gold medal final, scoring an ippon against Russia’s Aliko Dzhilandze to clinch the victory.
“The highlight of my day was definitely winning gold in the final, but for sure, winning the semi-final by ippon was a nice one for me because the Belarusian had beaten me previously. My ground technique is one of my strengths because many Europeans don’t practice it much. I won three or four of my matches like that today,” commented Burt.
According to the Canadian judoka, consistency has been key for him this season. “Ever since I won the bronze in Glasgow at the European Open in October, I’ve been fighting really well. Winning a medal is very cool, but winning the event is really special! I’m pretty happy!”
Mina Coulombe (U78 kg) won her preliminary bout but bowed out to Russia’s Tatiana Lialina, who beat her by ippon in the semi-final and later went on to snag the silver medal. In the bronze medal final, Kazakhstan’s Nazgul Maratova scored an ippon, relegating Coulombe to fifth place.
Louis Krieber-Gagnon (U90 kg) finished ninth. The Montrealer’s tournament record consisted of one win and two losses. He was knocked out in his second match of the repechage by Russia’s Eldar Allakhverdiev, who won by waza-ari.
“All in all, with this tournament being presented as a preparation event toward the World Championships, we have, with some of the players, achieved the main goal which consisted in exposing them to a long competition day where they had to compete in five or six fights. On a less positive note, I have to mention the early elimination of most of our younger athletes,” concluded Almeida.
Sarah Perks (+78 kg), Antoine Valois-Fortier (U81 kg), Marc Deschênes (U100 kg), and Kevin Gauthier (+100 kg) did not rank.