Montreal, July 25, 2017 – On day one of the judo trials at the VIII Jeux de la Francophonie, being held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Gueorgui Poklitar captured a silver medal for the Quebec delegation on Tuesday in the U66 kg division.
“I’m very satisfied. It was a long day. The atmosphere here is great and I’m very happy with my medal. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” commented the Montrealer.
Poklitar ousted Marc Ndong Nze (Gabon) by ippon, then beat Bernice Sawadogo (Burkina Faso) by hansoku-make in the quarter-final. He clinched a victory over Etoga Dieudonne Nama (Cameroon) in the semi-final by forcing him to take three shidos.
“I’m very proud of my performance, especially in the semi-final. It was a big personal test and I succeeded hands down. I’ve had some injuries over the past few months and I was able to overcome those obstacles,” he added.
Poklitar’s only loss of the day took place in the final round when Franck Vernez (France) won by ippon. “There were a few technical issues with the television and I think the bouts were a little mixed up. I only had a five-minute break between the semi-final and the final. I know Vernez very well and I knew I had to be in top shape, but I was a little low on energy.”
Gabriel Juteau (Canada) placed fifth in the same weight class. The Longueuil resident beat Dijbo Ismael Alhassane (Niger) by ippon but lost to Imad Bassou (Morocco) by hansoku-make in the round of sixteen. In the repechage, Yannick Ephrem Zouzoua (Ivory Coast) took three shidos in his combat against Juteau, which cost Zouzoua the bout. In his bronze medal final against Etoga Dieudonne Nama (Cameroon), Juteau lost by hansoku-make.
“Gabriel fought well in the bronze medal match. He put in a good performance. With 30 seconds left in the match, his opponent started to push and caught Gabriel off guard. It was difficult to understand the refereeing. They said Gabriel made an error but I don’t agree. We try different strategies but they don’t always work. He gave his all during the fight. I’m very proud of him. Unfortunately, the referees saw something different so we have to be satisfied with fifth place,” noted coach Jean-Pierre Cantin.
In the U52 kg division, Marie Besson (Quebec) scored an ippon to beat Halidou Salamatou (Niger) but lost to Tamara Silva (Switzerland) during golden score in the quarter-finals. In the repechage, she bowed out to Julia Rosso (France), who won by waza-ari. Besson finished in ninth place.
In the same category, Taeya Rae Koliaska (Canada) lost her only bout by ippon to Silva of Switzerland and did not rank.