Montreal, September 1, 2017 – Again this Friday, a few Maple Leafers were eliminated during overtime at the judo World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
“Many of the fights were very tight, and it was the small details that tipped the scale,” said Team Canada coach Nicolas Gill. “Some of the athletes ran out of steam, and others haven’t been lucky with refereeing decisions since the beginning of the World Champs.”
Kelita Zupancic (Under 70 kg) claimed an ippon victory in her first match, against Mongolian Naranjargal Tsend-Ayush. In her second bout, the Whitby athlete succumbed in overtime to Colombian Yuri Alvear, who would go on to climb onto the third step of the podium.
In the Under 78 kg, Ana Laura Portuondo Isasi was coming back to international events after a two-year suspension for a higher-than-allowed concentration of a bronchodilator.
The La Prairie athlete beat Hungarian Evelin Salanki by ippon. She was then defeated, also in overtime, by British Natalie Powell, ranked third in the world, who eventually walked away with a bronze medal around her neck.
“There were some interesting refereeing decisions,” said the coach. “Ana Laura scored a point in the final minute that wasn’t granted immediately. She ended up getting thrown, and only then did the point get awarded (by the panel of judges). I think the fight would have played out very differently if the point had been awarded right away. This kind of thing has been happening since the beginning of the week.”
“Ana Laura won a World Championships bronze when she was a junior,” he continued. “She just got back to competing after two years away, and the future looks promising. She’s making a great comeback.”
Meanwhile, on the men’s side, both Canadians competing in Budapest this Friday were in the Under 90 kg division. Montrealer-by-adoption Zachary Burt started his day with an ippon victory over Finnish Samuli Viitanen, then lost his second match to Portugal’s Celio Dias.
Louis Krieber-Gagnon, from Montreal, was defeated by Lebanon’s Nacif Elias in his first bout of the day.
Kyle Reyes (Under 100 kg) will be the only Canadian judoka on the mat this Saturday.