Antoine Valois-Fortier claimed Canada's first judo world championship medal in almost 15 years Thursday, taking the silver medal in the men's under-81-kilogram event in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Valois-Fortier, a bronze-medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, lost in the final against Georgian Avtandili Tchrikishvili, the current International Judo Federation standings leader in the under-81-kg class.

It was Canada's first world championship medal since Nicolas Gill won bronze in the under-100 kg division in 1999.

"I beat a number of the best competitors in my class, including the defending champion. I'm thrilled with my performances today," said Valois-Fortier, from Quebec City.

Valois-Fortier's path to the championship match included a quarter-final win over Brazilian Victor Penalber, who defeated the Canadian in the last two Pan-American Championships finals.