Montreal, December 1, 2019 – Constantin Gabun, Kelly Taylor and Alexandre Arencibia each won a bronze medal during the last leg of the Asian tour for the Canadian team at the Hong Kong Open, which ended on Sunday.
Gabun was the first Canadian up for the challenge. Fighting in -73 kg on Saturday, the 21-year-old started by winning his first two fights by ippon, against Pak Ming Issac So and Kin Sang Po, both from Hong Kong.
A mistake he made in the third round, against Kazakh Madiyar Sembayev, put an end to his hopes for a gold medal. “His fight was going very well, but he tried to end it too quickly with an ippon. When he tried to execute his technique, his opponent reacted quickly and countered, and he won,” explained coach Jean-Pierre Cantin, who then saw his protege win the bronze-medal contest against Mongolian Choijilsuren Ganbold.
“He fought perfectly. The fight is a good representation of his progression in the last few months, and it’s encouraging.”
Back on the mat for the first time after an elbow injury she suffered earlier this year, Kelly Taylor (-57 kg) also stood on the third step of the podium on Saturday after winning 3 of her 4 matches.
“Her elbow was still painful, but she was able to push through her fears and win her first bout. The further she went, the better she was. These are great wins for her, and it’ll help bring her confidence back up,” said Cantin about Taylor, whose only loss was against South Korean Youjeong Kwon, the eventual gold medallist.
On Sunday, Alexandre Arencibia concluded a good weekend for Canada with a third place in -81 kg. After easily defeating his first two opponents, the Quebecois had to concede defeat in the semi-final, where he faced the eventual silver medallist, Russian David Gabaidze. He still did end up on a good note by defeating Abdullah Alkhuzam, from Kuwait.
“Alexandre did great things today. He was defeated by a strong opponent, but he was able to get back up and win a medal. It was a good tournament for him. He’s still young, and it’ll be good for the next stage of his career,” commented the coach.
Coralie Godbout was the only other Canadian to be ranked during the tournament. After one victory and one loss, the Canadian judoka was defeated in the bronze-medal contest in -78 kg by Shu Huei Hsu Wang, from Taipei.
“We Have to Look Beyond the Results”
Five other Canadians were competing at the Hong Kong Open during the weekend. Justin Lemire (-73 kg) and Martin Penchev (-81 kg) were the only ones to win their first round, but were eliminated in the second round.
Keagan Young (-81 kg), Jérémie Blain (-81 kg), and Julien Frascadore (-66 kg) were all eliminated in the first round.
Even though he admits he would always like more medals, Jean-Pierre Cantin believes the results in a tournament aren’t all that matters.
“People often forget the work and preparation before a tournament. We trained for 2 weeks in Japan before coming to Hong Kong, and I’m proud of how our athletes have worked. They all are pretty young juniors and our priority was to gain experience. We can say our mission is accomplished.”
The members of the Canadian team will be back in Canada at the beginning of the week. They will be enjoying a well-deserved rest, after which they will start training again to keep improving.
“I’m excited to see how they’ll be after their break. It can take a while to absorb everything they’ve learned in a short period and be able to reproduce it on the mat. It’ll be interesting to see how they’ll react when they come back and how they progress,” said Cantin.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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