Montreal, June 17, 2017 – Étienne Briand is leaving Mexico with a silver medal around his neck. Although the Montrealer bowed out to his opponent in the U81 kg final at the Cancun Grand Prix, he did not go down without a fight.
“It was an unusual match. My opponent complained to the referee about my judo gi. It was very hot and my judo gi was wet. It broke my concentration. I didn’t want to get on the referees’ bad side. I froze. It’s rare for a competitor to speak to a referee. I put pressure on my opponent; I made a lot of attacks. The whole thing has left a bitter taste in my mouth.”
Emmanuel Lecenti of Argentina opened the scoring by throwing Briand, who retaliated with a similar move a few seconds later; however, his move did not earn him any points.
Briand made multiple attacks during the final minute but Lecenti regained control with thirty seconds left in the bout. The Argentinian was able to hold on until the clock ran down; his prudence earned him a waza-ari for the win.
”It’s been a long time since winning a medal has felt like such a disappointment. He wasn’t able to fight with holds so he basically backed off. When I go out onto the mats, it’s to win by scoring points. That being said, I’m happy with my other bouts.”
Briand, who hails from Sept-Îles, began his day with two victories by ippon over Vinicius Panini of Brazil and Jack Hatton of the U.S.A.
He continued his winning streak into the semi-finals, where he threw Hungary’s Attila Ungvari for a third win by ippon, this one in overtime. At the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam in Russia earlier this spring, Ungvari snagged the silver medal and Briand the bronze. “I’m really happy with my victory over the Hungarian, who’s ranked fourth in the world,” noted Briand.
Ontario’s Kelita Zupancic had a short day of competition: Brazil’s Amanda Oliveira showed her the door by ippon in her first round.
Zachary Burt (U90 kg) and Marc Deschênes (U100 kg) will hit the tatamis for Canada on Sunday.