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Judo | François Gauthier-Drapeau finishes fifth in a marathon tournament

François Gauthier-Drapeau gave himself body and soul to the Tokyo Grand Slam. Three of his five fights required overtime on Saturday, including his last for a bronze medal, where he finally lost.


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Having received a bye in the first round, Gauthier-Drapeau began his under 81 kg course against Sergelen Luvsandemberel of Mongolia. The Canadian inherited the victory after his opponent received three shido.

The scenario repeated itself in the next round. This time it was Italy’s Giacombo Gamba who was penalized three times, ending the clash lasting over seven minutes.

“It was a difficult tournament, my fights were long and painful,” said Gauthier-Drapeau at the end of the day.

The Quebec judoka then faced the Japanese Takeshi Sasaki and a defeat sent him to the repechage. Another extra time was needed to determine the winner ahead of Frenchman Nicolas Chilard. Gauthier-Drapeau had the last word by ippon.

Tired, he was deprived of a place on the podium by the Japanese Sotaro Fujiwara, who won in extra time.

“I managed my first fights well tactically, but in the bronze final, I made strategic mistakes that I shouldn’t have made and it cost me the medal,” shared the athlete from 24 years.

If his techniques have not always been successful, he claims to have followed the different game plans to succeed in winning his duels with wear.

“It’s a good sign when the techniques don’t work and you still win! launched his trainer Antoine Valois-Fortier. “He came very close to the bronze medal and we believed in his chances. François has fairly consistent good days, we’re not far off! In my opinion, it’s a matter of time before we turn fifth places into medals. »

In action at -73 kg, Arthur Margelidon first defeated Kenshi Harada of Japan before being eliminated by Germany’s Alexander Bernd Gabler, who won with a waza-ari. Trailing with a minute to go, Margelidon worked hard, failing to close the gap before the end.

For his part, Alexandre Arencibia participated in his very first Grand Slam on Saturday, finishing his tournament with a record of a victory and a loss in the category of less than 90 kg. The Montrealer won by default in the first round in the absence of Nicolas Grinda of Monaco, then was penalized on three occasions against the Japanese and future bronze medalist Sanshiro Murao.

The caliber is always very high in Tokyo and the women’s categories were no exception.

Despite an excellent start, Christa Deguchi lost her first fight of the day in the -57 kg category after a hotly contested duel against the young Japanese Akari Omori. An eventual bronze medalist, Omori landed a waza-ari after more than two minutes of extra time to save herself with the win.

Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard lost from the outset against the Japanese Miku Takaichi. The latter, who had taken a long break following the Olympics, won all her fights to clinch the gold medal in the under 63 kg category on home soil.

“It was a very difficult draw, she has been one of the best Japanese women for several years. His recent break explains his lower world ranking. All in all, it was a good fight from Catherine, she did well. A small mistake in transition on the ground cost her the fight, but she looked good throughout the duel,” mentioned Antoine Valois-Fortier.

The Japanese formation won the six gold medals of the day at the Grand Slam in Tokyo, in addition to four silver medals and seven bronze.

Competition will resume on Sunday. Kyle Reyes (-100 kg) and Kelly Deguchi (-52 kg) will be ones to watch in the Canadian camp.

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