Jessica Klimkait of Whitby, Ontario and Shady El Nahas of Montreal, Quebec each won the gold medal this past weekend in the Zagreb Grand Prix Judo event from Croatia. Klimkait won the gold medal in the women’s 57 kilogram weight class on Friday and El Nahas won the gold medal in the men’s 100 kilogram weight class on Sunday.
In the women’s 57 kilogram weight class, Klimkait competed in Pool D and beat Jaione Equisoain of Spain, Tongjuan Lu of China and Jandi Kim of South Korea, before beating Nekoda Smythe-Davis of Great Britain in the semifinal and Momo Tamaoki of Japan in the final. Nekoda Smythe-Davis of Great Britain and Eteri Liparteliani of Georgia each won bronze.
In the men’s 100 kilogram weight class, El Nahas was also in Pool D and beat Cyrille Maret of France, Mikita Sviryd of Belarus and Jorge Fonseca of Portugal before beating Peter Paltchik of Israel in the semifinals and Alexandre Iddir of France in the finals. Paltchik and Fonseca each won bronze.
Team Canada won two other silver medals in the Zagreb Grand Prix on Saturday. Olympic bronze medalist Antoine Valois-Fortier of Quebec City, Quebec won a silver medal in the men’s 81 kilograms and Arthur Margelidon of Montreal, Quebec won a silver medal in the men’s 73 kilograms.
In the men’s 73 kilograms, Margelidon won all three matches in Pool A, as he beat Akylbek Serik of Kazakhstan, Daniel Williams of Great Britain and Salvador Cases Roca of Spain. Margelidon then beat Musa Mogushkov of Russia in the semifinal before losing to Tohar Butbul of Israel in the gold medal bout. Mogushkov and Denis Iartcev of Russia each won the bronze.
In the men’s 81 kilograms. Valois-Fortier won Pool B as he beat Achraf Moutii of Morocco, Dorin Gotonoaga of Macedonia and Leandro Guilheiro of Brazil. He then beat Saeid Mollaei of Iran in the semifinals before losing to Takanori Nagase of Japan in the gold medal game. Tato Grigalashvili of Georgia and Mollaei each won the bronze medal.
Valois-Fortier won the bronze medal in the men’s 81 kilogram weight class at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.The medals for Valois-Fortier, Klimkait, El Nahas and Margelidon will give them confidence as they prepare for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.