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Antoine Bouchard claims the Pan American title in Edmonton
26 Apr 2015 06:30
Antoine Bouchard had a perfect path that lead straight to the top of the podium Saturday at the Pan American Judo Championship in Edmonton, Alberta. On the second day of competitions, Canadian athletes also won an additional three medals, thanks to stellar performances by Arthur Margelidon, Ecaterina Guica, and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard – all three of whom will take home bronze medals.
Competing in the Under 66kg category, Antoine Bouchard was able to make good use of a pass beyond the opening round before facing and beating Aruba’s Jaymes Mata and Mexico’s Angel Hernandez.
The Saguenay native – currently ranked 36th in the world – continued onto the semi-final where he beat Cuba’s Osniel Solis. Penalties were the defining factor between the two judokas as neither of them had scored points during the match itself: Solis received three, while Bouchard was only penalized once and thus took the win.
“It was a tight match; the Cuban athlete had just beaten my teammate Patrick Gagné, so there was a bit of Canadian payback there! He had a few good opportunities near the end because I was on the defensive, but I was able to avoid being thrown,” commented the gold medallist.
“It was his key match of the day,” analyzed National Team Coach Nicolas Gill. “Antoine kept the match close and didn’t give his opponent a lot of room, which enabled Antoine to win.”
In the final round, Bouchard only needed under three minutes to pin and immobilize the Dominican Republic’s Wander Mateo (world-ranked 59th), the Canadian then went on to score an ippon – and the Pan American Championship title.
“ I needed to stay aware in order to avoid being thrown or pinned. In the middle of the bout, he made a serious mistake by letting me get to the ground and I definitely took advantage of that!” said Bouchard.
Fifth at the 2014 Pan American Championships held in Ecuador, Antoine Bouchard is undeniably pleased with his gold medal. “I am thrilled, there are just no other words to describe what I’m feeling. My goal coming here was to do this year what I wasn’t able to last year – win a medal. A gold medal – that’s so much better!”
“This is great progress for Antoine in his first year in Senior competitions,” added Coach Gill.
In women’s competitions, Ecaterina Guica and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard both took the third step on the podium in their respective categories.
Competing in the Under 52kg class, Montreal’s Guica scored an ippon and the win against Argentina’s Oritia Gonzalez before folding in the semi-final when matched with Brazil’s Erika Miranda – currently ranked third in the world.
“Ecaterina put in a good performance today – combating the Brazilian athlete was a sizeable challenge and she did a great job,” enthused Coach Gill.
Relegated to the bronze medal round, Guica (world-ranked 41st) nonetheless confirmed her prowess with a win by ippon over Ecuador’s Diana Diaz.
Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard – world ranked 10th and competing in the Under 57kg – was barred from accessing the final by American judoka Marti Malloy (7th ranked). Malloy – who also earned a bronze medal at the London 2014 Olympic Games and was the 2013 was silver medallist at the World Championships - scored an ippon on the athlete from Saint-Hubert, who had previously beaten both Ecuador’s Joselin Plaza and Columbia’s Yadinys Amaris.
“Catherine and the American have met on the tatami four times this year; now they each have two wins. It was maybe one of Catherine’s lesser performances of the day; if she could go back and re-do one, this would likely be it because all her other matches were excellent,” concluded Coach Gill
Beauchemin-Pinard finished her time on the tatami with a victory over American Hana Carmichael, and earned a bronze medal for her efforts. Commenting on the bout, Coach Gill stated that, “She (Catherine) did a good job of coming back – the result of the match was anything but a given.”
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