Montreal, August 27, 2017 – Priscilla Gagné claimed her first international victory on Saturday at the Para-Panamerican Judo Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, winning the gold medal in the U52 kg division at the tournament for visually impaired athletes.
The other Canadian at the event, Justin Karn, also stepped onto the podium to accept the silver medal in the U60 kg category.
“It was incredible because it was the first time we heard the Canadian national anthem! It was amazing!” exclaimed Gagné, who defeated two Brazilians and one Argentinian on her way to the podium and was the only competitor in her category to remain undefeated.
The silver medal went to Brazil’s Karla Cardoso and the bronze to Argentina’s Silvana Ledesma.
It took Gagné less than a minute to dispose of her first two opponents, but her third match was a little tougher. Regardless, the Montrealer, who placed fifth at the Paralympic Games in Rio, managed to score an ippon with 40 seconds remaining in regulation time.
“My opponent was an experienced competitor in the U57 kg group and she’s strong. I think my cardio endurance was a little better than hers. The results of this tournament will help me move up in the world rankings and boost my confidence for the future.”
Gagné will compete in the Tashkent World Cup in Uzbekistan in early October.
As for Karn, he lost only one of his three bouts on Saturday. The Longueuil resident bowed out to American Ron Hawthorne, the gold medal winner.
Brazil’s Thiego Silva nabbed the bronze.