Mohab Al-Nahhas was perfect in his five fights on Sunday at the European Cup in Gaia, Portugal, on his way to a place atop the podium in only his second competition at -90kg since 2021.
Al-Nahhas managed to secure its place in the semi-finals with three victories early in the day over Briton Chandler Hill, Israeli Daniel Berchadsky and Argentine Mariano Cotto Bercier.
“My first three fights were very tough and strategic. The opponents were very strong and physical, and I am very happy that I was able to get through my group to get to the next round,” Al-Nahhas commented.
In the semi-finals, the Canadian was up against Finn Artur Kanevets, an opponent he knows well because they have been training partners for a long time. The battle ended in overtime, as Al-Nahhas managed to launch a decisive attack to secure its ticket to the final.
It was my hardest fight of the day! When we were facing each other during training camps, he would always hit me and he could throw me dozens of times. I remained patient and took it to the body to finish the job.
Mohab al-Nahhas, on Artur Kanevitz
Facing Norway’s Cornelius Ellertsen in the final, Al-Nahhas quickly cemented their place at the top of the category by defeating Ippon.
“I had never seen him before today [dimanche]. He was tall and very physique. I wanted to be strategic by attacking him quickly and it worked. Surprisingly, it was my easiest fight of the day.”
Anyone who has just made the jump to the under 90kg category after spending the last few years in the under 81kg category is looking forward to this fresh start and will want to do everything they can for the chance to find themselves at the Paris Olympics in less than a year.
“I am happy to have returned from my normal performance in Zagreb last week. I have proven that I can succeed in both categories. When I return to Canada, I will sit down with my coaches to assess the future. If all goes well, I will be back in December To participate in the Tokyo Grand Prix to lobby for the Olympics. »
Unlike the coppers, Adriana Portondo-Isasi moved down the category to find herself in the under 70kg category for the first time since her return to judo exactly a year ago.
She finished the day fifth in her new class after losing to Kazakhstan’s Ekaterina Tokareva in the duel for the bronze medal.
“I learned a lot this weekend in Gaia. I realize that under 70kg is definitely my category! It wasn’t necessarily in my plans to go down there, but since returning after five days of physical inactivity, my body has changed dramatically and I’ve lost a lot of weight. It’s learning, but it’s really fun,” Portondo Isasi shared.
In the same category, Alexandria Lefort took seventh place.
For their part, Daniel McChrystal (-66kg), Alex Marinho (-81kg) and Benjamin Kendrick (-100kg) were unable to fight their way to victory in Gaia.