Montréal, June 10th, 2012 – Alexis Morin-Martel impressed this weekend, at the Judo Grand Slam presented in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The Quebecois, 195th in the world in the under 73 kg class, caused the upset of the tournament by eliminating the top seed, American Nicholas Delpopolo, ranked 14th in the International Federation of Judo. Morin-Martel then went on to claim the surprise bronze medal.
After beating the Argentine Francisco Cuneo by ippon in his first bout, Morin-Martel got the better of Delpopolo thanks to a waza-ari. “It’s a huge victory for me, especially since the Rio Grand Slam is just my second competition since returning from injury,” explained the Quebecer who underwent surgery on his left knee last autumn.
It was Marcelo Contini, 107th overall, who would finally get the better of Morin-Martel, besting him in the semi-finals. The Brazilian scored an ippon by throwing the Quebecois to ground, just a little under a minute into the fight. From there Contini would go on to defeat the Brazilian Adriano Santos to claim the gold medal.
“He has a very defensive style. He relies heavily on the counter-attack, which he excels at. I knew that going in, but somehow still ended up falling into his trap. In terms of kumi kata, I had a good fight where I had certain amount of control. This was probably why I wasn’t taken to ground too easily,” Morin-Martel elaborated, going on to explain that he was no less satisfied by his overall performance. “It was an extremely rewarding competition for me in every possible way.”
Also in action in Brazil, Quebecers Patrick Gagné (-66 kg) and Dilyaver Sheykhislyamov (- 90 kg) were unable to match Morin-Martel’s success.
Gagné, 78th in the world, was upset by the Brazilian Danilo Ferrante. Sheykhislyamov suffered a similar fate, losing his very first bout against the Brazilian Reubens Inocente Filho.
Next week, many Canadian judokas will take part in the Buenos Aires World Cup in Argentina, as well as the European Cup in Cejle, Slovenia.