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Montréal, February 18, 2023 – Ontario’s Kyle Reyes capped off a superb showing by the Canadian team at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam in Israel, earning a fifth medal for the country on Saturday. The runner-up world champion in the under-100 kg weight division secured a bronze medal on the third and final day of competition.

In his final fight for bronze, Reyes, who had gone through the repechage, found himself facing not only his opponent Peter Paltchik of Israel, but also the large hometown crowd. The Canadian successfully deflected Paltchik’s attempted throws, and less than a minute remained in regulation time when he surprised his opponent with a counter-attack, knocking him to the ground and immobilizing him for an ippon.

“For most of the fight, I felt like I was in control of my opponent,” said Reyes, who was pleased to step onto the podium for the fifth time in his Grand Slam career.

“It was a great day for Kyle, especially his fight for bronze. He had only fought that opponent once before, and he had lost. (Paltchik is) a high-calibre judoka, but Kyle handled the entire bout beautifully, and took advantage of an opening when the Israeli began to falter,” explained national team coach Antoine Valois-Fortier.

After receiving a first-round bye, Reyes defeated Harry Lovell-Hewitt of Britain by ippon. In the quarter-final, he suffered the same fate when Gennaro Pirelli of Italy sent him to the repechage. However, he bounced back quickly in his first repechage bout, disposing of Romania’s Asley Gonzalez by ippon.

“I feel that overall, I did well. I should maybe have attempted more attacks against the Italian. I was hoping to fight in the gold medal final, but I’m glad to have made it to one of the final rounds and to have won bronze,” noted Reyes.

In the same weight division, Shady ElNahas of Ontario lost his only fight of the day to Pirelli, who clearly had the Canadians’ number today. Pirelli finished fifth after losing to Leonardo Goncalves of Brazil in the other bronze medal final.

In the big final for gold, Zelym Kotsoiev of Azerbaijan bested Michael Korrel of the Netherlands.

In over-100 kg action, Quebec’s Marc Deschênes lost to Emre Sanal of France, who won by ippon.

Earlier in the tournament, Jessica Klimkait (-57 kg) and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg) won gold medals, Christa Deguchi (-57 kg) won silver and François Gauthier-Drapeau (-81 kg) won bronze.

Needless to say, their coach is very proud!

“We saw some excellent performances! The World Championships are coming up, and things are looking good for us. Over the past few weeks, the team has been training in Europe, and it clearly paid off all weekend,” he concluded.

Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

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