“It Was My Turn to Shine” – Nikola Petrovic
Montréal, March 20, 2022 – British Columbia’s Nikola Petrovic had high expectations for himself at the Junior European Judo Cup in Coimbra, Portugal, and they were rewarded as he won a bronze medal in the under-100 kg weight class at his fourth international competition.
“Honestly, I never had very high expectations at my previous competitions. But this time, I trained really hard, I’m in my best shape ever and I knew it was my turn to shine,” he explained.
In the bronze medal final, France’s Marc Soumahoro was disqualified for unsportsmanlike behaviour during the semi-final, thus awarding the medal to Petrovic by forfeit. However, the 18-year-old Canadian claimed his best fight of the day was against Portugal’s Guilherme Silva in the repechage.
“My hardest fight was the one right after I lost my pool final. Silva is as big as I am and very solid. I had a lot going on in my head, but I was able to focus. It was all or nothing at that point.”
Petrovic then went on to beat Britain’s Gregor Miller to advance to the bronze medal final.
Earlier, Petrovic had defeated Spain’s Antonio Sandino Ramos in his first fight of the day. He then incurred his only loss of the day against Francesco Basso of Italy, who won the other bronze medal.
“I felt good against Basso, but an error cost me the match. I was able to move on from that, though, thanks to (coach) Sasha Mehmedovic’s help. After that, I took it one fight at a time and ended up with the bronze medal,” he added.
Mikhail Akbashev (Manitoba), who also competed in the under-100 kg group, racked up two wins and two losses and was halted just before reaching the final for the other bronze medal.
In the final for that weight class, Silvan Bulthuis of Netherlands defeated Huber Illmer of Austria to claim the gold medal.
Alec Garand (-90 kg) and David Popovici (-81 kg), both of Quebec, fought and lost one match each.
On the women’s side, Amélie Grenier (Quebec) had a good day in the under-52 kg group, winning three out of five bouts and finishing seventh. She defeated Marta Nuno de la Rosa Centeno of Spain and Alessia Tortorici of Portugal before bowing out in her pool final to Giulia Carna of Italy, who went on to win the silver medal.
In the repechage, she ousted Larissa Sickinger of Austria before seeing her day come to an end in her fight against Laura Gomez Antona of Spain.
In the same weight category, Evelyn Beaton (Alberta) won her first two matches of the day before losing to Ariane Toro Soler of Spain, who later won gold. Beaton was unable to bounce back in the repechage, as she was defeated by Italy’s Asia Sassi.
In the under-48 kg group, Marie-Pier Gingras (Quebec) and Anne Lee (Ontario) lost their two fights of the day. In the same category, Heidi Quach (Quebec) was defeated in her only bout of the day.
Kondelia Karas (Alberta) and Éibhleann Alexander (British Columbia) both lost their first fights of the day in the under-52 kg group.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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