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Montréal, August 24, 2023 – Priscilla Gagné had her share of ups and downs on Thursday at the Parajudo World Championships in Birmingham, UK. A strong start followed by two heartbreaking losses earned her a fifth-place finish in the under-57 kg J1 category.

Gagné got off to a good start at the IBSA World Games, quickly dispatching of her first two opponents to advance to the semi-finals. The Canadian, who holds third place in the international rankings in her category, then faced 2022 world champion Dondu Yselyuyrt of Turkey.

Although both athletes experienced some high points during the bout, Gagné eventually had to admit defeat.

“She’s very, very strong, and I have yet to beat her. It was hard, but still, I was able to do certain things I’d never managed to do against her before, so I have no regrets about the fight,” said Paralympic silver medallist Gagné, following the competition.

Despite the loss, Gagné’s medal hopes were still very much alive. She advanced to one of the two bronze medal finals, where she was pitted against a familiar rival: Liana Mutia of the USA, to whom she had lost the 2022 Pan-American Championships final, before exacting revenge with a third-place finish at the Alexandria Grand Prix in March 2023.

Once again, the battle was intense. The match went into overtime, and much to Gagné’s dismay, it ended in the same manner as have several recent bouts between the two rivals.

“That one was a bit harder to take,” admitted the Canadian. “I was ahead in shidos [penalties] in overtime, but she completed an attack to win. We’ve known each other for a long time, and you always have to use different strategies against her. It’s too bad, but I won’t let it get to me too much. The Paris Games are only a year away, and I want to enjoy every moment.”

Also in the under-57 kg J1 category, British Columbia’s Christina Mowatt was eliminated after her first-round loss to Maria Manzanero of Spain.

The only Canadian male in action was Justin Karn, who competed in the under-60 kg J2 event on Wednesday. After a first-round loss to Anuar Sariyev of Kazakhstan, who later won a bronze medal, the Ontarian bounced back in the repechage to defeat Jacob Fitzpatrick of Australia.

However, his run came to an end in the next round, where he bowed out to Spain’s Lorenzo Gavilan, who holds seventh place in the rankings for the category, which is dominated by Kemran Nurillaev of Uzbekistan.

Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

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