Road To The Olympic Games


Canadian judoka Kelita Zupancic falls short by 1 second

Canadian judoka Kelita Zupancic saw her Olympic medal dreams quashed by a very narrow margin in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.

26-year-old Ontarian just misses match-tying pin

Canada's Kelita Zupancic, left, tries to pin Austria's Bernadette Graf during their 70-kg repechage judo match in Rio. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

By Jonathan Rumley, CBC Sports

Canadian judoka Kelita Zupancic saw her Olympic medal dreams quashed by a very narrow margin in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old from Whitby, Ont., lost a repechage bout in the women's 70-kg division at Brazil's Carioca Arena 2. She came one second away from completing a 15-second pin to tie Austria's Bernadette Graf, 24, with a waza-ari — the second highest score in judo.

Zupancic could only immobilize her opponent for 14 seconds and failed to record a waza-ari as mere seconds remained in the match.

Judo rules state that an ippon (one full point) is the highest score a fighter can attain in the sport while a waza-ari falls right beneath that with its value of a half point. 

Zupancic was left in disbelief when she walked off the mat with no time remaining in the bout and her appeal unsuccessful. 

Before the repechage contest, Zupancic lost to 26-year-old Haruka Tachimoto of Japan in extended time.

In a controversial moment, the Canadian was poked in the eye by the Japanese competitor and could not recover after that.

The match was tied after regulation time and Zupancic was thrown down to her back in the golden score period.
Earlier in the day, the Canadian defeated Esther Stam of Georgia in the round of 16. 
Zupancic made her Olympic debut four years ago at the Summer Games in London, where she lost to the eventual gold medallist, Lucie Decosse of France, in the second round and finished tied for ninth. 
The Ontarian also won gold at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto after coming in fifth four years prior.
Japan's Haruka Tachimoto, left, defeated Canada's Kelita Zupancic in Olympic judo action on Wednesday. (AFP/Getty Images)


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