Canada’s cadet judokas did their country proud on home turf on day one of the PanAmerican-Oceania Championships, being held in Alberta. They collected a total of eleven medals on Friday at the WinSport Complex in Calgary. The big winner though in Calgary was the team of Brazil with 10 Continentela titles followed by USA with 3 victories.
One of the day’s highlights was the all-Canadian showdown in the under 52-kg final, where Leanna Au defeated Laurence Gagnon to claim the gold medal.
“I’m definitely very happy with the outcome! This is only my second IJF tournament, and I’m very proud,” stated Au, who hails from British Columbia. “I’m also thrilled that two Canadians were in the final, and that we were on the podium together! It was a difficult bout.”
Earlier on Friday, the gold medallist defeated Kendra Quiroz Lario of Mexico and Callie Bannister of Australia. Bannister made Au work hard for her victory.
“My second fight was very close! She scored a waza-ari, but I was able to come back with an ippon,” explained Au.
In the under-70 kg weight division, two additional Canadians reached the podium. Charline Bourque secured the silver medal, while Nova Rotbart won bronze. Shavon Gonzalez of the USA captured the category’s gold medal.
In the over-70 kg category, Frédérique Lavigne won her first two matches and advanced to the final, where she faced Dandara Camilo of Brazil. In that contest, the Québécoise sustained her only loss of the day. She will depart Alberta with the silver medal.
In the same weight class, Marianna Karas lost both her bouts on Friday.
Mélodie Grenier (-48 kg) ended the day on the third step of the podium, thanks to her win over Maelie Tournier of Australia, just hours after she lost to Samantha Garcia of the USA.
In the under-63 kg weight class, Dakota Sanzana clinched a bronze medal. Sanzana, of New Brunswick, secured her second victory of the day by defeating Renata Sandoval of Mexico.
On Friday, Yehor Paladii competed in the U81 kg final, where he defeated Lucas Ribeiro of Brazil to claim the top spot on the podium.
“This is my very first Pan-American Championships medal! I feel great. It’s an international competition! It’s bigger than the Canadian Championships, and you can feel it,” exclaimed Paladii, following the tournament.
On his way to the final, Paladii dispatched of Lucas Vladich-McKenzie of Australia and Francisco Galarza Hernandez of Peru.
“Today, I felt ready to fight and ready to win. I was focused on my goal, and I felt confident,” he added.
Fahd Fithane had a good day in the U66 kg division, defeating Daniel Sanchez Martinez of Mexico, Reiver Albarenga Soto of Argentina and Fabricio Meyer of Chile to advance to the final, where he faced Bruno Nobrega of Brazil.
Following a tough battle, Fithane finished with silver.
In the same weight class, Vincent Roberge-Poitras began the day with a win over Domenico Ternullo of the USA, before bowing out to Fabricio Meyer of Chile. He then bounced back with a victory over Argentina’s Reiver Alvarenga Soto, and finished the day at the foot of the podium after losing to Tobias Vidal, also of Argentina.
In the U73 kg weight division, both Elisey Sokolov and his teammate Nicolas Villa fought for bronze medals. Sokolov began his day by defeating Angel Hernandez Rojas of Mexico, while Villa ousted Nicholas McClifty of Australia. However, both Canadians lost their semi-final matches, and each moved on to one of the bronze medal finals.
They ended up sharing the third step of the podium after Sokolov disposed of McClifty and Villa defeated Hernandez Rojas.
In the U60 kg weight category, two Canadians were in action on Friday. In his first fight of the day, Luka Tsatsalashvili dispatched of Alexander Prado of the USA, but later lost to Joao Lira of Brazil, before bowing out to Xavion Johnson of the Bahamas.
In the same weight class, Vincent Nepton finished the day with two losses. Oleksandr Kaplin (-90 kg) and Matys Rainville (+90 kg) had similar results in their respective categories. Loic Beaton (-55 kg) lost his first and only bout of the day to Lautaro Cruces of Argentina.
On Saturday, the junior athletes will hit the tatamis at the PanAmerican-Oceania Championships.
This article was originally published on www.judoinside.com