François Gauthier-Drapeau (-81 kg) and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg) would certainly have hoped to do better in their first international competition since the World Championships in Doha. On Saturday, at the Grand Slam of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the two Quebec athletes were beaten in the second round in their respective categories.
The day had started well for Gauthier-Drapeau who won his first duel against the Portuguese Anri Egutidze by forcing him to take three penalties.
Things got tough in the next round, however, when the 25-year-old was surprised by a throw from Bahrain’s Askerbii Gerbekov. Initially a waza-ari, the video replay showed that it was ultimately an ippon and Gauthier-Drapeau’s working day ended like this.
“It wasn’t the day we were hoping for, that’s for sure. François was convincing in his first fight against an excellent opponent. Then, Gerbekov had already beaten François in the past and he repeated the same blow to him with a similar technique, we will have to go back to the drawing board to review the whole thing,” mentioned coach Antoine Valois-Fortier .
Japan’s Kenya Kohara won the gold medal in the -81kg category by beating South Korea’s Joonhwan Lee in the final.
For her part, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard took advantage of a bye in the first round before finding the South Korean Chaewon Shin in the second round. This fight was hard fought and even required extra time in which both opponents received their second respective penalties of the clash.
Unfortunately, the Montrealer received a third shido in overtime, which immediately gave her opponent the victory.
“The South Korean had a particular style that didn’t necessarily appeal to Catherine. All in all, she was able to deliver an excellent start to the fight. Catherine may not have been in top form and the fight dragged on where she was eventually penalized for non-combativeness which ended her chances,” Valois-Fortier explained.
The Japanese Nami Nabekura, champion a year ago to the day in Ulaanbaatar, successfully defended her title in the capital of Mongolia by defeating the Hungarian Szofi Ozbas in the ultimate duel.
Despite the results below the expectations of his athletes, coach Valois-Fortier still sees a little positive in this second day of Grand Slam.
“We are coming out of a big period with the World Championships in particular. It is normal for athletes not to be at their peak. It gives us a good overview to know what to focus on in the next few weeks in order to come back strong as soon as possible. »
Sunday, on the last day of activity in Mongolia, Louis Krieber-Gagnon (-90 kg) and Kyle Reyes (-100 kg) will be the last two Canadians to hit the mats.