Zachary Burt Near Perfection
Montreal, March 1, 2020 – Zachary Burt only lost one out of five bouts on Sunday at the European Open in Warsaw, in Poland, and won a bronze medal in the -90 kg category.
The Canadian judoka needed a little over seven minutes to defeat Polish Tomasz Szczepaniak, who got a third shido, which ended the bout.
“He has beaten me in the past when we were juniors and we’ve often fought in training camps, so we know each other well,” said the Montrealer. “I never feel threatened that he can throw me, but he is very good at countering my attacks. I know physically he isn’t the strongest, and his gripping is also not so good, so I used these two weaknesses to my advantage and was able to control a lot of the sequences.”
Burt’s only loss was in the semi-final, where he lost against the eventual gold medallist, Belarus Aliaksandr Sidoryk, whom he didn’t know.
“I’m not as comfortable with left-handed opponents, so I knew this would be tricky, but I was excited to face him,” he said. “My classical gripping was not working against him, so I tried to get closer in order to counter, but he didn’t react and I took a risk when I tried to throw him backwards.”
Sidoryk dodged the attack and scored a full point to win the match.
Before facing the champion, the Montrealer defeated Swedish Olle Mattsson, Azerbaijani Zaur Duniamaliev, and Ukrainian Stanislav Gunchenko. It wasn’t an easy task for Burt, who had long bouts against his opponents.
“My first three fights were all tough, but the one against the Azerbaijani might have been the hardest of the entire day,” he added. “He was incredibly powerful and I ended up taking two penalties early on in the fight. I managed to stay in it long enough and was able to score in overtime.”
Also fighting in -90 kg, Louis Krieber-Gagnon was eliminated after the first round. He was defeated by ippon by Rufat Ismayilov, from Azerbaijan.
The only other Canadian in action, Marc Deschênes, ranked in seventh place in +100 kg.
He started the day off by defeating Polish Tomasz Talach before being defeated by ippon by French Joseph Terhec. He was eliminated in repechage by Tsetsentsengel Odkhuu, from Mongolia, who went on to win a bronze medal.