As 2012 approaches, Judo Canada athletes are getting ready for their final season of qualifying competitions. Most recently, many of the national team members returned from their European tour. The tour consisted of three world cups, one grand slam, and one grand prix (not in that specific order).
Team Canada began the tour strong as Marylise Levesque from Quebec in the under 78kg division took gold in Sofia, Bulgaria. This was her first ever world cup victory and it has brought her even closer to the qualification spot. As the team moved through Europe, their next spot was Grand Slam Paris, one of the strongest competitions besides the world championships. This years Grand Slam Paris had a record breaking attendance which made the competition even stronger. With no medals being won, the team still had a successful performance attaining four ninth place finishes and one fifth. Sasha Mehmedovic (Athlete's Now Fund recipient) and Michal Popiel in the under 66kg division, Frazer Will in the under 60kg division, and Marylise Levesque in the under 78kg division all finished 9th while Joliane Melancon (Athlete's Now Fund recipient) finished fifth. From Paris, the men's team moved to Budapest, Hungary and the women's team moved to Vienna, Austria. Amy Cotton in the under 78kg division finished second while Kelita Zupancic (Athletes Now Fund recipient) in the under 70kg division finished fifth.
On the men's side, Sasha Mehmedovic and Antoine Valois-Fortier were the top Canadians finishing in the top ten position. In the final competition of the circuit, Amy Cotton in the under 78kg division represented the women's team strong as she took third place in Prague, Czech Republic. As the tour came to an end, many of the national team members were glad to be home after a long trip. Next on the agenda are the Pan-american Championships held in Mexico in April.
Canadian Athletes Now Fund Rep