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Montréal, March 26, 2023 – When in 2021 he last participated in the Grand Slam in Tbilisi, Shady ElNahas won the first gold medal of his career at this level. This Sunday, he returned to the podium with a bronze medal in the Under 100kg category in the Georgian capital.

The Canadian was familiar with his last opponent, Kazakh Nurlykhan Sharkhan. The Canadian had recently trained with him and had taken note of his defensive style – something that ElNahas factored into his strategy so he could use it to his own advantage.

“He got penalties because he didn’t want to engage with me – that was part of the game plan,” ElNahas acknowledged.

Just as he was hoping, a little after two minutes had passed, the official penalized Sharkhan for a third time which ended the bout, good for earning the Ontario native the third step of the podium.

“If I had had the chance to throw him off, I would have, but I knew it was going to be tough because of his defense,” added EINahas, who now has nine Grand Slam medals to his credit.

Earlier Sunday, he won his first two bouts when he defeated Croatia’s Zlatko Kumric and France’s Alexandre Iddir by ippon to advance to the semi-finals. ElNahas then faced Gonchigsuren Batkhuyag of Mongolia – Batkhuyag scored two waza-aris early in the match and advanced to the final.

“My first two fights went perfectly, but the semi-final it was very disappointing. The guy just wanted to wait to counter me and he got to me. I think it was a fight I could have won,” ElNahas analyzed in hindsight.

If he had reached the grand final, the Canadian would have faced the Georgian Illia Sulamanidze, the same opponent he defeated at this very same Grand Slam in 2021.

“It would have been cool to do that again. In Paris, I also lost in the semifinals, so I’m going to have to figure out how to not overthink it, win, and get through to the final,” sagely noted the Canadian.

Sulamanidze won gold against Batkhuyag in the grand final, and the other bronze went to Brazilian judoka Buzacarini.

In the Under 90kg category, Louis Krieber Gagnon finished the tournament with one win and one loss. The Quebecer started his tournament with a waza-ari win over Anarbek Ishenbaev of (Kyrgyzstan), but then lost to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Champion Lasha Bekauri of Georgia.

A short time later, Bekauri got the better of compatriot Luka Maisuradze in the grand final. Cuba’s Ivan Felipe Silva Morales and Japanese judoka Goki Tajima both earned bronze medals.

Team Canada was very well represented by a whole host of judokas on the tatami at the Under 21 competition taking place this Sunday in Bremen, Germany.

Jumber Meladze stole the show, winning six bouts to claim the Under 81kg gold medal. In the grand finale, Meladze defeated Joshua de Lange of the Netherlands.

Also in the Under 81kg category, Carter Althouse, Faniry Michael Andriamanana, and Tigran Kryvytskyi were unable to find a way to win.

The other Canadian medal of the day was won by John Jr Messe A Bessong in the Over 100kg class. The Quebecer – and reigning World Cadet Champion – had a record of three wins and one loss, which got him to the third step of the podium.

Frederic De Cardaillac and Vincent Roberge-Poitras both had two wins and one loss in the Under 66kg class, while compatriots Fahd Fithane, Troy Gallant, and Norbert Peter Andras were halted after one bout.

In the Under 73kg division, Olivier Gagnon had two wins and one loss; Munkhjin Batdorj finished with one win and one loss. In the same weight division, Artem Neyolov, Jeremie Ngombi, and Lasha Tsatsalashvili were all eliminated in their first bouts on Sunday.

Daniil Kremerman was the only Canadian to reach the Under 60kg repechage – finishing with a record of three wins and two losses. Victor Dessureault won two bouts and lost one. Vincent Nepton, Denis Neyolov, Luke Thomson, and Raphael Gaanan all lost their first bouts in the latter category. Matys Rainville lived a similar fate in the Under 100kg category.

Finally, three Canadians were in action in the Under 90kg. Alec Garand finished the day with two wins and one loss, while Michael Akbashev won his first bout before losing his second, and Oleksandr Kaplin was defeated in his first bout. What a busy day for these hard-working judokas!

Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

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