Montreal judoka Sasha Mehmedovic earned a spot in the London Olympics with a silver medal in the men's under-66-kilogram class Saturday at the Pan-American judo championships.
Mehmedovic reached the final with a win in a close match with Venezuela's Valderrama Ricardo before losing by yuko to Brazil's Leandro Cunha in the final.
“It's tough to come from behind against this type of athlete,” Mehmedovic said of Cunha, ranked No. 6 in the world. “But overall, I was really happy with how things turned out. This was the last competition in the Olympic selection process, and I still needed to compile points to assure my qualification. I was pretty nervous this morning, but in the end things went my way. It was my day.”
Joliane Melancon of Blainville,Que., won bronze in the women's under-57 kg division. It was a bittersweet result for Melcancon, who needed gold to qualify for the Olympics.
Melancon beat Mexico's Ana Leon in the bronze-medal bout after losing to Brazil's Rafaela Silva in the semifinals.
“It was a nice way to finish my day,” Melancon said. “I'm disappointed but at the same time, I have nothing to be ashamed of. I got better and better from one competition to the next. I have peace of mind, and am looking forward to getting back to work for the next run of Olympic qualifying.”
Elsewhere, Montreal's Sergio Pessoa Jr., won silver medal in the men's under-60-kg class.
Pessoa, who has already qualified for the Olympics, lost to Brazil's Felipe Kitadai by ippon in the final.
“I was winning the bout by a shido and probably should have been more defensive, Pessoa said. ”Technically I was having a good fight and decided to try some different things. I made a mistake, and mistakes against an athlete like him you simply can't get away with.“
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