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Gagne, Jorgensen impress for hosts Canada at judo American Champs

Date: January 13, 2020

Category: Judo

Hosts Canada enjoyed a double podium-topping performance at the 2019 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo American Championships in Montreal on Sunday.

Defending champion Priscilla Gagne and debutant Michelle Jorgensen were on top form in the women’s up to 52kg and up to 70kg, respectively.

Full results are available at: and fans can watch Montreal 2020 again at IBSA’s YouTube channel.

Following a bye in the first round, Gagne defeated Brazil’s Maria Lins by ippon in Golden Score. The Canadian followed that up with a win over Lins’ teammate Karla Cardoso in the final.

“I felt very prepared mentally today, and 90 per cent of the fight is about mental preparation, so I feel like if that’s ready, everything is fine,” Gagne, who is also a World Championships bronze medallist, said. “My coach gave me great advice and I stuck to the plan. I feel very lucky and thankful for the opportunity to have a competition of this level at home. I’ve been preparing for a long time for this, and I was very excited to fight at home in front of my family and friends. It was a great day and I’m ready for the rest of the season.”

Also fighting in the up to 52kg, Canada’s Christina Mowatt, a newcomer on the international scene, was able to grab bronze with a score of 1-1. Argentina’s Rocio Ledesma joined Mowatt to claim the other bronze.

Jorgensen topped the podium for Canada in the women’s up to 70kg. She scored 2-1 against her opponent, Uruguay’s Mariana Mederos.

The women’s over 70kg featured a clash of the Brazilian titans in the final. Lima 2019 Parapan American Games champion Meg Emmerich faced 2018 champion Rebeca Silva for gold, and won.

The USA’s Katie Davis and Cuba's Dalida Rodriguez Clark shared third place on the podium.

Brazil’s Lucia Araujo successfully defended her title in the women’s up to 57kg. The USA’s Liana Mutia triumphed in the women’s up to 63kg.

On the men’s side, Canada’s defending title-holder Justin Karn rounded-off his country’s medal haul with bronze in the up to 60kg to come back strong after a difficult last season.

“I had a lot of personal issues going on and it affected negatively my performance last year,” Karn said. “Today (Sunday) was my best performance in a long time, I’m more than happy with this result.”

After getting a bye through the first round, Karn was defeated by eventual winner Henry Borges, from Uruguay, in the second round.

Karn bounced back in repechage, where he won against Mexican Bryan Gerardo Aburto to win a spot on the podium. “I’ve been preparing for this for a while. I felt very strong, and I’m feeling confident for the next tournaments. I know what to work on to beat Borges next time and I know I can build on today’s result, so I’ll be ready,” Karn added.

Venzuela’s Marcos Blanco lost out to Borges in the final, having to settle for silver. Brazil’s Thiego Silva took bronze.

Brazil secured a trio of golds in the men’s, bringing their Montreal 2020 total to five.
Luan Pimental retained his gold from two years ago in the men’s up to 73kg. Argentina’s Fabian Ramirez and Mexico’s Abraham Ortiz were third.

Pimental’s Paralympic silver medallist teammate Wilians Araujo beat Cuba’s Yordani Sastre Fernandez in the men’s over 100kg final. Sastre Fernandez is himself a Rio 2016 Paralympic bronze medallist from the men’s up to 100kg, but Araujo’s strength and experience in the higher weight category showed on Sunday.

US teammates Robert Anderson and Trey Lampkin rounded-off the podium.
Four-time Paralympic champion Antonio Tenorio, who has claimed a medal at every Paralympics since Atlanta 1996, won the men’s up to 100kg.

The USA’s Benjamin Goodrich and Cuba’s Isao Rafael Cruz Alonso claimed a bronze each.

Mexico’s Paralympic champion and Americas champion Eduardo Avila Sanchez continued his winning streak in the men’s up to 81kg. After the last American Championships Sanchez had been out injured, returning to the mat in 2019 to top the podium once again at several competitions. His gold medal on Sunday showed that he is firmly back with just months until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Cuba’s Geraldo Rodriguez Reyes was second and the USA’s Adnan Gutic third.

Sanchez's teammate Brayan Mizael Valencia Preciado added another gold for Mexico in the men’s up to 90kg, avenging his 2018 loss against Brazil’s Arthur Silva who this time left with silver.

The USA’s Ricky Ties took bronze.

Argentina’s Eduardo Gauto improved on his silver medal from two years ago in the men’s up to 66kg. Venezuela’s Marcos Falcon was second followed by the USA’s Robert Tanaka and Puerto Rico’s Luis Perez.

The 2020 IBSA Judo American Championships were the last regional competition ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Just two Grand Prix now remain for judoka to secure world ranking points that will determine qualification for the upcoming Paralympic Games.

Athletes will head to Nottingham, Great Britain, from 11-12 April and Baku, Azerbaijan, from 11-12 May.

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