Montreal, February 9, 2013 – With a ninth place finish in the Under 52kg category, Ecaterina Guica achieved Team Canada’s highest result today in France at the Paris Grand Slam – one of the largest judo competitions in the world, second only to the World Championships.
“I was really thrilled to have qualified to be here for the first time, I was surrounded by so many great athletes, so it was an honour to be able to get onto the tatami. In other tournaments I know I can reach the podium, so end up feeling a lot of pressure and I fight stressed out. Here though, since the bar is so high, I was able to focus solely on the unique experience. I couldn’t let anyone down and it made me able to appreciate my matches in a different way, which doesn’t happen often,” commented a thoughtful Guica.
In action in Group A, Guica won her first bout against American judoka Angelica Delgado with an Ippon. “I’ve only been in the Under 52kg since September 2012, so I don’t really know my competitors yet, but I did have a bout with her at a training camp, and I’ve watched her performance in videos. I’m really happy I was able to start the day off with that match.” The Quebec judoka then lost her match against Japan’s Takumi Wiyakawa, who went on to win the bronze medal.
“It went well enough. I took a risk by trying for a roll on the mat, but she ended up beating me by Ippon. Now, I know a bit more about Japanese judo styles; I’d like the have the opportunity to battle her again eventually, when I’m stronger and can do a better job,” analyzed Guica.
In her last year at the Junior level, Ecaterina Guica will be competing in two further European Junior Cups this upcoming March.
Also on the tatami today was Étienne Briand, who won his first match in the Under 73kg against Algeria’s Sofiane Ablada; Briand then lost to the Netherlands’ Dex Elmont. In the same category, Alexis Morin-Martel lost his only bout against the Ukraine’s Ivan Iefanov.
Other Canadians in action Saturday were unable to earn final rankings. In the Under 66kg class, Patrick Gagné was bested by Georgia’s Tornike Tatarashvili. Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard was beaten by the Netherlands’ Anicka Van Emden in the Under 63kg category.