Photo: COC/Jason Ransom
Photo: COC/Jason Ransom

Canadian judokas ready to fight for gold at world championships

Canada’s best judokas will compete against the world’s elite at the World Judo Championships starting Monday in Budapest, Hungary,

On the men’s side, London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and 2016 Olympian Antoine Valois-Fortier will try to grasp the only medal he hasn’t yet won at the world championships. The only Canadian world medallist in judo since 1999, Valois-Fortier won bronze in 2015 and silver in 2014 in the 81kg category. Earlier this season, he won gold at the Hohhot Grand Prix in China. It will be his fifth appearance at the competition.

Two other Rio 2016 Olympians will be competing in the men’s competition, Antoine Bouchard and Kyle Reyes, who will be relying on their Olympic experience to get them far in the competition. Bouchard, who will be competing in the 66kg category, stunned everyone when he finished fifth at his very first Olympic Games a year ago. As for Reyes, the 2013 junior world champion will represent Canada in the 100kg category. Both judokas will be competing at the world championships for their third time.

Antoine Bouchard celebrates after defeating Russian Mikhail Puliaev at the Rio Games. (PC / Ryan Remiorz)

Ranked 10th in the world in the 81kg category, Étienne Briand wants to build on his many international successes of 2017 in Budapest. Briand won bronze at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and silver at the Cancún Grand Prix. It will be the first worlds for the Canadian competing in the under 81kg weight class at worlds, after competing in the lighter 73kg weight class in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Étienne Briand (second from the right) celebrates his bronze medal in the under 81kg category at the Quingdao Grand Prix in China on November 20, 2016. (IJF / Sabau Gabriela)

2015 Pan American Games bronze medallist Arthur Margelidon will be fighting in the 73kg category, one year after missing out on the Rio Olympic Games due to a broken radius. Margelidon is ranked 11th in the world in his category and won silver at the Hohhot Grand Prix this year. Bradley Langlois (73kg), Zachary Burt (90kg) and Louis Krieber-Gagnon (9kg) will complete the men’s contingent in Budapest.

Canada’s Kelita Zupancic (right) fights against Japanese Chizuru Arai in the final at the Grand Slam in Paris, 2017. (AP Photo / Kamil Zihnioglu)

There are six judokas trying to become Canada’s first female world championship medallist. Leading the pack is Kelita Zupancic, who will be fighting in her sixth worlds. The 2012 and 2016 Olympian and Toronto 2015 gold medallist is ranked ninth in the world. This season, she won a silver medal at the Paris Grand Slam.

Zupancic’s teammates at the Rio Games, Ecaterina Guica and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, will also be repping the red and white in Budapest. Guica is ranked seventh in the world in the 52kg category. She won silver at the 2015 Pan Am Games and placed second at the Hohhot Grand Prix – her best result this season on the world tour. Beauchemin-Pinard is a double junior world medallist (2013, 2014) and will be taking part in her fourth worlds as she competes in the 57kg category.

Jessica Klimkait is also competing in the 57kg category at worlds. The Canadian is currently ranked eighth in the world and has made a few trips to international podium this season, winning bronze at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and silver at the Hohhot Grand Prix.

Two-time Pan Am Games medalist Stefanie Tremblay (63kg) and Ana Laura Portuondo Isasi (78kg) complete the women’s squad in Budapest.

Here is the complete list of Canadian judokas competing at the 2017 worlds, which continue through September 3:


Ecaterina Guica – 52kg
Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard – 57kg
Jessica Klimkait – 57kg
Stefanie Tremblay – 63kg
Kelita Zupancic – 70kg
Ana Laura Portuondo Isasi – 78kg


Antoine Bouchard – 66kg
Arthur Margelidon – 73kg
Bradley Langlois – 73kg
Antoine Valois-Fortier – 81kg
Étienne Briand –  81kg
Zachary Burt – 90kg
Louis Krieber-Gagnon – 90kg
Kyle Reyes – 100kg