François Gauthier-Drapeau achieved a long-standing goal by winning bronze in the under-81kg category on Sunday at the European Open in Malaga, Spain. Proud of his performance, the Quebecer now wants to build on this result to give new impetus to his career.
” I am really happy ! It had been a long time since I had won a medal in an international event and I was looking forward to this moment. Besides, it’s my first podium in an Open, so it’s pretty special. It’s good to be back! ”Gauthier-Drapeau said with enthusiasm at the end of the event.
The Canadian judoka showed the full extent of his talent during this competition, concluding with a triumph by waza-ari against the Spaniard Alfonso Urquiza Solana in the bronze final.
The whole thing did not go smoothly for Gauthier-Drapeau who faced tough opponents on the tatami. Among other things, he defeated Italian Andrea Gismondo in the draft, an opponent against whom he had experienced difficulties in the past. But this time, the scenario turned out to be very different.
“I was a little nervous before the fight because he had beaten me before, he confessed. I knew what to expect and managed to win by ippon in the first minute. It gave me a lot of confidence and I was able to conserve my energy for the bronze final. ”
Gauthier-Drapeau’s only misstep came in the quarter-finals, where he faced Alpha Oumar Djalo, eventual champion of the category. The two fighters fought a hot fight, but it was ultimately the representative of France who had the upper hand in overtime.
“I knew he was excellent, even though I had never faced him. I had two penalties early in the fight, but still gave good opposition and made good attacks. On the other hand, I was not fast enough in my catch and he surprised me in extra time, ”analyzed Gauthier-Drapeau.
However, this defeat is far from overshadowing the performance of the 23-year-old athlete who will return to the country over the next few days with a medal around his neck and a first conclusive experience in Grand Slam (Paris). What to add to the motivation of those who want to take advantage of this season to demonstrate all their know-how.
“My goal is to eventually come back with the senior national team. I haven’t had a competition for a long time and this trip makes me believe it. I wanted to go for good results and that’s exactly what I did. I will continue to work to become even better and improve myself at the tactical level, ”he concluded.
Also in the tournament in the under 81 kg, the Quebecer Alex Marineau dropped the flag against the Italian Mattia Gallina in his first fight of the day. Same fate for the British-Colombian Alicia Fiandor (-70 kg) who suffered the defeat from the start against the Belgian Maxine Heyne.
Injured, Louis Krieber-Gagnon (-90 kg) ultimately did not take part in the competition.