Canada had its best day at the Commonwealth by winning two gold medals in the men’s division in Coventry on Thursday. A few minutes after an all-Canadian duel in the U100kg final, where Shady El Nahas got the better of teammate Kyle Reyes to win gold, in the +100kg division, Marc Deschênes won decisively in under a minute. As a result of the above bouts, Canada is taking home three medals after Wednesday’s tatami time at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games judo tournament.
Shady El Nahas and Kyle Reyes both had a perfect lead-ups in the tournament, which meant that gold in the Under 100 kg category would be an all-Canadian affair. The tactical duel of the two left-dominant judokas was ultimately won by El Nahas.
“It’s a disadvantage to fight against someone who knows me so well – I can’t surprise him,” noted gold-medallist Shady EI Nahas.
“I managed to get some good grips, but I should have attacked faster, before he avoids my grip,” explained Kyle Reyes.
Fighting without a coach, the two Canadians weren’t able to benefit from Antoine Valois-Fortier’s valuable insight and coaching during the bout. “My brother Mohab (El Nahas) was in the stands; he knows my judo well, and he was there for me. His advice helped me to adapt my moves” revealed Shady El Nahas.
In the semi-final, Harry Lovell-Hewitt (ENG) faced Shady El Nahas where he lost out on the chance to fight for gold, but was still in contention for a bronze medal. Harry Lovell-Hewitt’s bronze medal contest which was a strong and measured fight with Lovell-Hewitt being awarded the bronze medal after his opponent was handed three shidos.
Marc Deschênes claims career best gold medal
Smiling brightly, heavyweight judoka Marc Deschênes left the mat thrilled with the fruits of his labours, “This was my first competition since my knee injury; I’m really happy to win!”
Deschênes’ victory was the sum of successful waza-aris, by immobilizing – twice – opponent Kody Andrews, from New Zealand. Those two waza-aris earned Deschênes an ippon a mere 58 seconds into the fight. “It wasn’t my initial strategy, but the opportunity presented itself. I took it!”
After his victories, the judoka made a ‘gator’ sign – a gesture that resonated and spread on social media. “It’s my signature technique on the ground, the ‘gator’! I wrap my legs around my opponent and turn,” the 29-year-old enthusiastically explained.
Home victory for Jamal Petgrave
In the men’s U90kg division Jamal Petgrave delivered Commonwealth Games judo gold for England. Petgrave was hunting down his first Commonwealth medal and was up against Remi Feuillet (MRI). Petgrave controlled the fight taking it to golden score where he secured gold with a waza-ari score. He won his opening fight in the U90kg quarter-final against Marius Metois (VAN) and went on to fight Thomas-Laszlo Breytenbach (RSA) in the semi-final where he won with two waza-aris for ippon and moved on to fight for gold.
Petgrave went into overtime to produce a ‘Golden Score’ victory over Mauritius judoka Remi Feuillet. “I hope to go to more games and I’d love to show the medal at the stadium.” Petgrave hails from Carsharlton in Surrey but was effectively competing on home turf.
I know all about this arena and to win my first major championship here is so special. The 25-year-old studied sports management at Coventry University and was able to count on support from his alma mater as well as family and friends. He said: “I know all about this arena and to win my first major championship here is so special. “I hadn’t fought him before and I had to work him out, his strengths and weaknesses. “Coming into Golden Score I could see him wavering. He was getting tired and I had to take the opportunity when it came.”
Harrison Cassar of Australia and Pakistan’s Shah Hussain Shah took the bronze medals.
Gold medal for Emma Reid
Natalie Powell (WAL) won her opening round contest in the U78kg category against Franceska Agathe (MRI) with ippon. Powell then won her semi-final contest with two waza-aris against Coralie Godbout (CAN) to fight in the U78kg final. The final between England’s Emma Reid was against her idol Natalie Powell from Wales. In a close contest, Reid clinched the Gold medal with a waza-ari score with Powell picking up Silver. Powell was the previous winner of the Games in 2014.
Rachel Tytler (SCO) was in contention for a bronze medal and faced Coralie Godbout (CAN). The quick-lived contest went in Tytler’s favour when she threw the Canadian for ippon.
Sarah Adlington defeats India’s Tulika Maan
In the women’s +78kg category, Sarah Adlington (SCO) was up against Tulika Maan (IND) in the battle for gold, which she secured with a waza-ari score.
Adlington dominated her quarter-final contest with a throw for ippon against Dianah Kana (KEN) and moved on to fight Abigail Paduch (AUS) in the semi-final which she won and went on to fight for gold.
Sarah Hawkes (NIR) lost her quarter-final contest against Abigail Paduch (AUS) but went on to win her repechage contest against Dianah Kana (KEN) and booked her place in the +78kg bronze medal contest.
In the bronze medal contests, Sarah Hawkes (NIR) was first up in the women’s +78kg category to face Sydnee Andrews (NZL). Hawkes put up a good fight, but narrowly missed out on the bronze when Andrews scored a two waza-aris for ippon.
Tulika Maan of India claimed the silver medal, despite an injury she gave her country the third medal of these Games. She is one of the lightest contestants in this category weighing 20 kgs less than her experienced Scottish opponent Adlington. Maan will now be heading for the Asian Championships this week in her busy schedule this summer which also included the European Open in Madrid recently. This silver medal generated a lot of media attention in India and outside and she was the most searched judoka of the day in JudoInside.com