Joël Benoît and Kelita Zupancic On the Podium

Tuesday August 28th, 2007
Montreal, August 5, 2007 (Sportcom) – Two Canadians graced the podium at the Junior Omnium this weekend in Jicin in Czech Republic. In the Under 66kg category, Rimouski (Qc) native Joël Benoît won the Silver medal, while Ontarian Kelita Zupancic (Under 70kg) delivered three victories and only one defeat – simultaneously earning herself a Bronze medal. More than 300 participants from 23 countries participated in the tournament. Prior to advancing to the final match against a Hungarian fighter, Benoît, from Quebec City, successively defeated opponents from Denmark, Norway, and India. In her battle for Bronze, Ontarian Kelita Zupancic (Under 70kg) defeated Polish, Italian, and Austrian competitors; her only defeat at the hands of a German athlete. Quebec’s Antoine Valois-Fortier (Under 81kg) earned himself a fifth place finish with four victories on the mat. In the semi-final, the 17 year old athlete was pitted against a Georgian opponent who would eventually win the Gold; while in his Bronze medal match, Valois-Fortier lost out to a Crotian fighter. Myriam Lamarche (Under 63kg), from New Brunswick, posted two victories and two defeats, putting her in ninth place. Anne-Marie Pettersen (Under 63 kg) and Serge Zamodine (Under 60kg) both completed the tournament with a 1-1 record, while Renee Guggino (Under 52kg) was defeated in her only match. Patrick Esparbès, Coach of the Canadian Team at the tournament was pleased with all of his young athlete’s performances, “Joël had a fantastic day! Everyone has learned extensively in the tournament and all are very pleased with their experience. Their matches indicate that they are assuredly on the right track.” The judokas will return to Canada on Monday in order to take part in a three week training camp.

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