Canada bringing home 7 medals from Pan Am judo championships

Montreal resident Shady El Nahas scored an ippon against Rafael Buzacarini to repeat as under-100 kilogram men’s champion at the Pan Am judo championships in Guadalajara, Mexico on Saturday.

El Nahas, who entered the day ranked eighth in the world, should move up after Saturday’s performance that included three victories.

“I really wanted to defend my title and it gave me extra motivation,” El Nahas, who was born in Egypt and raised in Toronto, told Judo Canada. “I really wanted to defend my title, and this is the first time I’ve won gold medals at the same tournament twice in a row.

In the semifinals, the 22-year-old El Nahas defeated teammate Kyle Reyes, who was assessed three penalties and was disqualified but went on to earn bronze along with fellow Canadians Zachary Burt and Marc Deschenes.

Last month, El Nahas won a bronze medal at the Budapest Grand Slam.

Burt won his medal in an under-90 kg match against teammate Mohab El Nahas, who was penalized three times.

“It felt great to be competing again, but this definitely wasn’t my best day physically,” said Burt, 27, who hails from Whitby, Ont. “I had some trouble in each of my bouts, but I’m glad to have made the podium.” 

Team 2nd overall behind Brazil

Burt admitted to feeling nervous early at the event, likely the result of an extended break from competition due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Deschênes, who fought in the over-100 kg class, was the fourth Canadian to reach the podium Saturday. Although he lost his first match to Cuba’s Andy Granda, he overthrew the Dominican Republic’s Jose Nova Alcantara by ippon and Ecuador’s Freddy Figueroa by waza-ari.

“Marc performed very well and I’m really proud of him. It was a tough category, but he managed to make it to the podium,” said coach Jean-Pierre Cantin.

The Canadian team, which won seven medals for the tournament after collecting three on Friday, finished second overall to Brazil. Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (under-63 kg), Ecaterina Guica (under-52 kg) and Antoine Bouchard (under-73 kg) went undefeated Friday en route to gold.

For Cantin, the team’s results are highly satisfying, given that most of the athletes had been away from competition for more than 10 months.

“They all fought really well,” Cantin said. “Coming back after a long break is not easy. We’re really proud of our judokas and accomplished our goal here.”



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