2018 Senior Pan American Karate Championships: Three Golds for Team Canada
Karate Canada – Santiago, June 17th – Canadian National Team members were in Santiago, Chile, for the 2018 Senior Pan American Championships held from June 15th-17th. The Canadian delegation included 27 athletes, accompanied by five coaches, a number of sports organization representatives, and sixteen officials. This event saw a number of impressive performances on the part of Canadian athletes, with twelve top-5 finishes, including one gold and four bronze medals in individual kumite, a gold and a silver medal in para-karate, an individual bronze medal in kata, and a historic first gold medal in men’s team kumite.
The Canadian men’s kumite team, comprised of Ryan O’Neil (NS), Jeremy Chenard (QC), Patrice Boily-Martineau (QC), Nicholas Patrick Rivest (QC), Philippe Soucy (QC), and Alexandre-Benjamin Rivest (QC), defeated Mexico, Venezuela, and Argentina in the elimination rounds, before triumphing over the USA in the event finals, taking Canada’s first-ever international Team Kumite gold medal.
Team Canada also saw a number of impressive individual performances. In women’s kata, Rita Ngo (BC) won her first two matches before losing to the eventual gold medallist, Sakura Kokumai (USA). Ngo won again in repechage against Valerya Hernandez (VEN) to take the bronze medal.
In women’s individual kumite Melissa Chan (BC) (-50kg) won her first two matches and went on to face Paula Ruiz Restrepo (COL), an eventual finalist, losing 2-0 to Restrepo. In repechage, Chan lost to Yamila Ailen Benitez (ARG), finishing in 5th place. In the -55kg division, Kate Campbell (NB) won her first two matches, to then lose against Cuban Baurelis de la Cardidad Torres Avverdi. She moved to repechage and defeated Ellora Jaggi (USA) 2-1 to claim the bronze medal. Melissa Bratic (ON) won her first two matches, losing against Cuban Yanet Martinez, then moving to repechage where she defeated Ninoska Katherine Carrasco Ortega (PAN) to claim the bronze medal at her first Senior Pan American Championships.
On the men’s side, Jeremy Chenard and Ryan O’Neil were both fighting for Canada in the -67kg division. Chenard won his first two matches before losing to Bruno Texeira (BRA). Chenard went on to win a first match in repechage before losing to Daniel Viveros (VEN), ultimately finishing 5th. O’Neil, for his part, won his first three matches before losing to finalist Vinicius Figueira of Brazil; he later won 2-1 against Francisco Nievas (ARG) to take the bronze medal. In the -75kg division, Nicholas Patrick Rivest won his first two matches 5-3 and 2-0 before being defeated by Venezuelan Jhosed Ortuno. NP Rivest moved to repechage and lost a close match 1-2 to his opponent Juan Camilo Fernandez Diaz (COL) to finish 5th. In the -84kg division, Maxym-Olivier Rivest was participating in his first Senior Continental Championships and impressed while winning four matches, including one against 2017 silver medalist Freddy Valera (VEN) and one versus Miguel Amargas (ARG), currently ranked 11th in the world, to get to the final round. M-O Rivest qualified to fight in finals against Brazilian Kaique Rodrigues, and won gold with a convincing 4-0 victory. Defending Pan Am Champion Daniel Gaysinsky (+84kg, ON) won his first two matches 3-0 and 8-0 before being defeated by 2017 bronze medalist Brian Irr of the USA. He moved to repechage and fought against Herick Granado (VEN), winning the match and thereby the bronze medal.
In the Female Intellectually Impaired category, Patricia Wright (ON) and Natalie Olson (AB) respectively finished 1st and 2nd in the first round and both moved on to the finals. Wright maintained her title of Pan American Champion by winning gold for a second consecutive year, while Olson also earned her second silver medal in a row.
Olivier Pineau, Executive Director of Karate Canada, notes that “the Canadian karate team is once again demonstrating marked and rapid progress on the international stage.And we concluded the tournament on a very high note, by winning gold in men’s Team Kumite, a division where results are generally considered to be a testament to the depth and overall success of a country’s national team program.” His statement is echoed by Karate Canada President Craig Vokey, who remarked upon the “excellent performance by the senior team”, declaring that “this is a young team with a bright future.“