Montreal, July 22, 2018 – François Gauthier-Drapeau won the title in the -81 kg category on Sunday during the Junior European Cup in Prague, in Czech Republic. Benjamin Kendrick was the runner-up in -90 kg.
Gauthier-Drapeau, from Alma, had a perfect score. He kicked things off by defeating Polish Pawel Drzymal, followed by Serb Mihailo Ciric and Turk Muhammed Koc, before winning the semifinal against German Emil Hennebach. In his last bout, the Quebecois scored an ippon against Azerbaijani Murad Fatiyev.
“I set up a good strategy, I had a good grip, and I was in better shape than my opponents. It was my first time fighting against Fatiyev, but I had already seen him in action, so I knew what to expect. Mission accomplished, I met my goals!”
In the same category, Luka Khatelishvili placed in 9th position. His day ended in repechage, where Estonian Aslanbeg Magomedkerimov defeated him by waza-ari. The Ontarian scored 3 victories and 1 loss in the preliminary rounds.
Benjamin Kendrick lost by ippon against Russian Mansur Lorsanov in the gold medal fight. “I had a good grip at first, and I tried to keep my distance. He got me once on my back, I couldn’t get a grip, and he got me. That mistake cost me the gold medal,” he explained.
In the semifinal, the Ontarian won by waza-ari against Turk Mert Sismanlar. Before that, he also won against German Richard Fiedler and Russian Azamat Kozaev during the preliminaries.
“I followed my game plan, I attacked and I was smart, that’s how I got in the final,” said Kendrick. “I’m very strategic, and I have a good strength, because my opponents are often taller than me.”
|François Gauthier-Drapeau, Benjamin Kendrick and the coach Janusz Pawlowski|
Joe Casey Andres (+100 kg) had to settle for a 5th place. German Jonas Puetz was able to grab the bronze after winning by ippon.
“He scored a waza-ari right from the start. In the second sequence, Puetz attacked and Andres tried to dodge it, but when he fell on the ground, his opponent fell on him, and he injured his shoulder. He tried to keep going, but the other one scored, and he got stuck on the ground. It was looking good for a third place. He’ll get through it, but the injury is too serious to keep him on the road with us, I’m sending him back to Canada,” explained assistant national coach Jean-Pierre Cantin.
In the semifinal, the Albertan also lost by ippon, against South Korean Sung Junhyeop. Andres won both his bouts in the preliminary rounds.
Two Women in the Top 10
Ontarian Hanako Kuno (-63 kg) ended in 9th place. After 1 victory and 1 loss in the preliminary rounds, the Lethbridge-native was eliminated by Romanian Olga Severin, who won by ippon.
British Columbian Shianne Gronen (-70 kg) had the same journey and also finished in 9th place. The judoka from Creston was defeated by ippon by Belarusian Zhanna Asipovich in repechage.
Anne Martin (-63 kg), from Alma, and Allayah Copeland (-78 kg), from Ajax, didn’t get a ranking.
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