Canada’s Kelita Zupancic won a gold medal in the women’s under-70 kg event at the Baku Grand Slam judo tournament.
Zupancic, from Whitby, Ont., defeated Germany’s Laura Vargas Koch by ippon, or a full point, 1:13 into the gold-medal bout.
“I felt good when I woke up this morning and it really showed on the tatami,” Zupancic said. “I just did what I’ve been doing all year long, and it definitely paid off.”
The win moved Zupancic to the top of the standings in her weight class after she began the year back in 15th place overall.
“It’s really a cool feeling being in first, it’s incredible,” she said. “I’ve been working so hard to get to this level, and now I’m going to try even harder to stay. I don’t feel any kind of pressure in particular, I’m just going to focus on the formula that got me here.”
In the under-78 kg division, Catherine Roberge of Charlesbourg, Que., beat Russian Alena Kachorovskaya to win a bronze medal. Montreal’s Amy Cotton lost her bronze-medal match against Croatia’s Ivana Maranic.
In men’s action, Olympic bronze medallist Antoine Valois-Fortier of Quebec City lost his first match to local favourite Rustam Alimli in the 81 kg event.