Zupancic Halted by Olympic Judo Champion at London Olympics

Press Release / August 1, 2012 - 5:58pm

Montreal, August 1st 2012 (Sportcom) – The Canadian judokas in action on the London 2012 Olympic Games tatami today were unable to follow the medal trail left by teammate Antoine Valois-Fortier, yesterday’s bronze medallist in the Under 81 kg category.

Kelita Zupancic (Under 70 kg) and Alexandre Émond (Under 90 kg) were both eliminated by Ippon in each of their first bouts.

Zupancic, ranked 16th internationally, began her day with a tall order in the form of a first match against France’s Lucie Decosse – the number one ranked judoka in the weight category.  

Aggressive and confident despite her opponent’s reputation, the 22 year-old Canadian judoka held on until just 29 seconds left of the bout, at which point Decosse scored an Ippon and eliminated Zupancic from the competition.

Zupancic was just the first of many of the French judoka’s casualties; Decosse went on to win the gold medal, defeating Germany’s Kerstin Thiele, who earned silver. Bronze medals went to Columbia’s Yuri Alvear and the Netherlands’ Edith Bosch.

Émond Defeated in Under Two Minutes 

Alexandre Émond’s Olympic voyage was a brief one; the Quebec native was surprised by England’s Winston Gordon (43rd international ranking) after one minute, 43 seconds of battle in their first round.

“I think I simply wasn’t prepared enough mentally or physically for a competition at this level. I was surprised by the other judoka, and that sort of thing doesn’t happen when I’m in top shape in all aspects,” Émond commented with frank honesty. A shoulder injury in recent weeks had prevented the judoka from optimizing his Olympic preparation.

“I felt it (the injury) a little, but that wasn’t really related to my defeat. My shoulder bothers me when it gets tired, so it wouldn’t be an issue after only three or four minutes of combat; it wasn’t a factor today. I wanted to follow my match plan, but it didn’t seem to work at the beginning and I guess you could say I panicked somewhat, which made it possible for Gordon to set the pace. I made a mistake and he got me with an Ippon,” analyzed the 28 year-old from Varennes, Quebec.

In the Olympic final, The Republic of Korea’s Dae-Nam Sung triumphed over Cuba’s Asley Gonzalez, who earned gold and silver, respectively. Greece’s Ilias Iliadis and Japan’s Masashi Nishiyama both earned bronze medals.

Thursday is the final day of Olympic judo action at the Emery Centre; Canadian Amy Cotton will take to the tatami in the search for a medal in the Under 78 kg category.