Canada strong at day one, Roper writes history
The Canadians came out swinging at the first day of the Pan-American Judo Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, with Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, Ecaterina Guica and Antoine Bouchard all winning gold medals on day one. Miryam Roper won a gold medal for Panama for the first time in the history of the country.
For the second time in less than a month, Beauchemin-Pinard faced off against Venezuela’s Anriquelis Barrios in her final match. This time, however, the outcome was much sweeter for the Québécoise, who defended her Pan-American title when she took down her opponent by ippon.
“I’m really happy to have come out stronger this time and to have beaten her. I put a lot of pressure on her from the start, so she quickly drew penalties. That motivated me to stick to my game plan and win the bout,” said Beauchemin-Pinard.
Her performance in the final capped off a perfect day for the 26-year-old, who had earlier ousted Ecuadorian Estefania Garcia and American Alisha Galles, both by ippon. “I’m so glad to have achieved my goal. It proves that if I set high goals for myself, I can accomplish them!” she added.
For Ecaterina Guica (-52 kg), it was the first competition in more than 10 months. However, the long break did not seem to negatively impact the Canadian, who won her three matches by ippon.
In the final round, it took her only 12 seconds to dispatch of Mexico’s Luz Olvera. “Ecaterina came here to win, and that’s what she did. She arrived well-prepared, she stuck to her game plan, and she deserves all the credit for this first Pan-American gold medal,” stated coach Jean-Pierre Cantin.
In his own comeback, Antoine Bouchard (-73 kg) also laid claim to the top of the podium, ending his day with a victory by waza-ari over a familiar opponent, Brazil’s Eduardo Barbosa.
“I had already fought him twice before, so I knew what to expect. It took longer than my last bout against him, but I stayed in control the whole time. I scored early and held onto my lead until the end. It was a great day and I’m really happy with my results,” claimed Bouchard, who previously won the Pan-Am title in 2018.
Constantin Gabun also competed in the -73 kg category but bowed out to Peru’s Alonso Wong in the bronze medal final. “I blew my chance! Instead of concentrating on my technique, I let my emotions take over,” explained Gabun, who finished fifth at his first ever Pan-American Championships and will be going home with a renewed sense of motivation. “I’d like a do-over, but unfortunately, that’s not possible. My loss just means that I have a lot left to learn, so I have to work even harder.”
Brazil followed after day one with two gold medals for Eric Takabatake U60kg and Daniel Cargnin U66kg dominating the light weight categories. Argentine Paula Pareto claimed the gold U48kg as expected. She defeated Edna Carillo of the organising country Mexico in the final. Miryam Roper aptured a precious gold medal in Guadalajara for her country Panama. For the first time in history Panama took gold at Pan American Championships. Roper took the only two medal for Panama this century.