IBSA Pan-American Championships Priscilla Gagné and Justin Karn at the Top of the Podium
Judo Canada – Montreal, May 20, 2018 – Canada’s representatives Priscilla Gagné (B1) and Justin Karn (B2) put in perfect performances today at the IBSA Pan-American Para-Judo Championships in Calgary, Alberta. With their twin records of three wins and no losses, they were crowned champions of their respective categories.
“I’m very happy! It was so exciting because Justin also won gold. It was really incredible!” exclaimed Gagné, who hails from Granby, Quebec.
Gagné claimed the gold medal in the -52 kg weight division after beating her all her opponents by ippon, the first of whom was Marissa Arndt of the U.S.A.
She then defeated Brazil’s Karla Caduso, who went on to win silver, and Argentina’s Rocio Silvana Ledesma, who won bronze.
“This was really important to me personally because it was held in Canada, and also because it took place at the same time as the Canadian Judo Championships. That made it special, but it also boosted my confidence for the Tokyo Paralympic qualifiers that will take place this fall,” explained Gagné.
“She had three competitors and she beat them all by ippon. She even fought against a former Paralympic medallist from Brazil, whom she quickly beat by ippon. It was impressive,” noted Gagné’s coach Andrzej Sadej, who was also the organizer of the event, which was held in conjunction with the Canadian Judo Championships.
Despite difficult circumstances in his personal life, Karn managed to secure the gold medal in the -60 kg class.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster, not only because my father passed away last week, but also because my wife and I lost our son last year and I had lost my grandmother just a few months before that. So it’s been a rough two years,” explained Karn. “It’s very special. We’ve been waiting for this event for the last two years. With all the challenges that I’ve faced, it’s a tremendous accomplishment.”
“Just the fact that he was able to overcome all those difficult events makes me very proud of him,” added Sadej.
Karn, of Longueuil, Quebec, beat Argentina’s David Emanual Gomez, Mexico’s Bryam Gerardo Aburto and Brazil’s Thiego Silva, all by ippon.
Silva went on to win the silver medal while Aburto claimed the bronze.
Also in action was Quebec’s Stéphane Gignac (B3), who lost his two preliminary round bouts in the -81 kg division.
He was defeated by Argentina’s Jose David Effron, who later won the silver medal, and the U.S.A.’s Adnan Gutic, who nabbed a bronze.
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