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Montréal, April 24, 2023 – Marc Deschênes made short work of the competition at the Pan American Open in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Sunday. In the Over 100 kg category, Deschênes required only an incredible 220 seconds – divided into three bouts – to reach the top step of the podium.

After relatively easy wins by ippon in the quarter-final against American Philipp Horiuchi, and in the semi-final against Venezuelan Luis Amezquita, the Québec native had a tatami date with Jose Nova Alcantara (Dominican Republic) in the grand final.

Deschênes’s experience was evident during his final duel, where he was able to immobilize his opponent on the ground to score yet another ippon after little more than 90 seconds, to Canadian Coach Sasha Mehmedovic’s immense pleasure.

“He’s the team veteran, and he clearly demonstrated his experience on the mat today. He beat all his opponents pretty easily, he followed his game plan to the letter in the final, and he beat his opponent. He fully deserves the gold,” enthused the coach.

On the women’s side of the tatami, Coralie Godbout also had a solid day in the Under 78 kg category. The judoka from Stoneham/Tewksbury won her first two bouts thereby earning a berth to the grand final.

After a hard-fought duel, Godbout was sadly defeated by Dominican Eiraima Silvestre. All the same, Mehmedovic was very proud of his protégée’s work.

“I’m really happy with Coralie’s performance. I totally believe that she could have beaten the Dominican judoka in the final, but as she gains more experience on the international scene, she’ll be better prepared for this kind of situation. She’s getting better with each competition and that’s a major credit to her,” said Mehmedovic.

A third Canadian stepped atop the podium Sunday in Santo Domingo: Nikola Petrovic (-100 kg) won a bronze medal by defeating Ecuador’s Junior Angulo in a rather convincing manner.

Petrovic won his first bout of the day over Dominican Ariel Lorenzo Pina before losing in the semi-finals to Cuban – and eventual gold medalist – Liester Cardona.

“Nikola is one of our youngest athletes and he’s already excellent. He fought very well in the semi-final and came very close to winning; he came back strong in the bronze medal final. It’s very encouraging to see him succeed,” added the coach.

Also in action on Sunday, David Popovici finished in fifth place in the Under 81 kg draw after losing the bronze final to Cuban Maikel Mkencie London. Guillaume Gaulin finished his day in seventh place.

With a grand total of seven medals over two days in Santo Domingo, Sasha Mehmedovic can say it’s definitely been ‘mission accomplished’, and hopes his athletes will be able to keep up the momentum until the Pan American Games in Chile this fall.

“Overall, I’m very satisfied with our athletes’ performance at the Pan American Open: they came to earn important points for Pan American Games qualification, and in addition, they were able to equip themselves with valuable experience,” he concluded.

Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

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