MONTREAL – Priscilla Gagné of Montreal won the gold medal in women’s 52 kilos and Justin Karn of Hamilton added a bronze in men’s 60 kilos on Sunday at the Pan American Para judo championships for visually impaired athletes.
After a first-round bye, Gagné defeated Brazilian Maria Lins by ippon in the semifinal then Karla Cardoso, also from Brazil, in just over a minute in the final before a home crowd at the Pierre-Charbonneau Centre.
“I felt very prepared mentally today, and 90 per cent of the fight is about mental preparation,’’ said Gagné, the world championship bronze medallist in 2018. ‘’My coach gave me great advice and I stuck to the plan. I’ve been preparing for a long time for this, and I was very excited to fight at home in front of my family and friends.”
Also fighting in the 52 kg, Christina Mowatt of Burnaby, B.C., a newcomer on the international scene, took the bronze with a 1-1 record.
In women’s 70 kilos, Michelle Jorgensen of Kelowna, B.C. won the gold medal defeating the only other entry in the class, Mariana Mederos of Brazil.
Karn was determined to rebound from a difficult 2019.
‘’Sunday was my best performance in a long time, I’m more than happy with this result,” he said.
After a first-round bye, Karn lost to Henry Borges of Uruguay in the second round. In the repechage, he defeated Mexican Bryan Gerardo Aburto for the medal.
“I’ve been preparing for this for a while. I felt very strong, and I’m feeling confident for the next tournaments,” he said. “I know what to work on to beat Borges next time and I know I can build on today’s result, so I’ll be ready.”
The 2020 IBSA Judo Pan American Championships were the last regional competition ahead of Tokyo 2020.
Just two Grand Prix events now remain for judokas to secure world ranking points that will determine qualification for the upcoming Paralympic Games.
Athletes will head to Nottingham, England on April 11-12 and Baku, Azerbaijan, May 11-12.