Valois-Fortier wins world judo bronze in Astana
Feature photo: Valois-Fortier in bronze medal bout (via IJF Media).
Antoine Valois-Fortier has delivered Canada its first medal of the World Judo Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The Olympic bronze medallist has been near the top of the rankings in his 81kg division since the breakthrough at London 2012. Last year Valois-Fortier won a silver medal at the world championships. Just over a month ago he grabbed a Grand Prix gold in Mongolia followed by a Grand Slam silver in Russia. His second podium at the worlds in two years comes with less than a year to his next Olympic experience at Rio 2016.
The Canadian won his pool by beating four opponents before a semifinal loss to Loïc Pietri of France. The Frenchman went on to win silver in Astana. Incidentally, last year in Chelyabinsk, Russia it was Pietri that won bronze while Valois-Fortier took home silver after the Canadian won in their semifinal contest. Pietri beat Valois-Fortier by ippon in Astana.
The semifinal loss this year relegated Valois-Fortier to the bronze medal bout, where he beat Korean repechage winner Lee Seung-Su by a slim margin, scoring a yuko by pinning his opponent down for more than 10 seconds.
Canada could double its medal count in Astana on Friday with Pan Am Games champion Kelita Zupancic competing in the women’s 70kg division.