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Canada Wins 8 Medals in Costa Rica

May 29, 2023

San Jose, Costa Rica—Canada’s karatekas combined to win three gold, one silver and four bronze medals in Kumite, Kata and Para events to finish fourth in the overall standings at the Senior Pan American Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Yamina Lahyanssa (Point Claire, Que.) won the first senior Kumite gold medal of her career in the women’s –50kg category, while Patricia Wright and Natalie Olson both found themselves on the top step of the podium in the women’s Para Karate Kata competitions.

Lahyanssa cruised through her bracket, winning her first four matches before topping Colombia’s Sofia Cardenas Balcazar in the gold-medal match.

“I’m extremely happy and grateful to be able to bring back home this gold medal while representing Canada,” said Lahyanssa. “Being my first senior title, I’m very satisfied with my performance and goes to show that hard work pays off.

“I need to thank my coach Redhouane Malek who has been behind me and pushing me towards this success, along with my training partners, family and friends, Karate Canada, my sponsors and Rodney Hobson. I couldn’t have done it without all this support.”

The Colombian athlete settled for the silver, while Juliana De Oliveira (Brazil) and number-one ranked athlete in the division, Yorgelis Salazar Camacho (Venezuela), were third.

Hana Furumoto-Deshaies (Gatineau, Que.) backed up her first Series A victory of her career in the -55kg category on Canadian turf in Vancouver with a silver-medal finish at the Senior Pan American Championships in the -55kg division.

The 26-year-old Kumite athlete dropped an 8-2 decision in the final to Chile’s Valentina Toro Meneses. Barbara Perez (Venezuela) and Geraldine Pena Barco (Colombia) shared the bronze.

Melissa Bratic (Mississauga, Ont.) grabbed a bronze medal of her own alongside Hellen Rodrigues Barbara (Brazil) in the women’s -68kg Kumite division.

“I feel pretty good. I came here for gold but unfortunately that’s not how it played out. My body was just not on today. It was nothing I could control. I did everything properly, but today was just one of those days where it just didn’t cooperate,” said Bratic. “A huge thank you to our support team. I’m happy with what I did and I’m returning home with a hungry stomach for some training.”

Skylar Lingl (United States) won the weight class. Wendy Mary Ann Mosquera (Columbia) took the silver.

The Canadian Women’s Kumite athletes including Hana Furumoto-Deshais, Lily-Rose Nolet, Kate Campbell and alternate Melissa Bratic also snagged a bronze medal in the Team competition.

Montreal’s Yassin Miri was the lone Canadian male to snag a bronze medal, taking third spot in the men’s -60kg kumite division. Three-time World Champion, Douglas Brose (Brazil), took the other bronze.

Chile’s Enrique Villalon Ruiz was crowned champion, winning the final match over Maximiliano Larrosa (Uruguay).

It was an all-Canadian final in one of the two female Kata bronze-medal matches with Claudia Laos-Loo (Surrey, B.C.) and Daphne Trahan Perreault (Terrebonne, Que.) meeting head-to-head.

It was the 25-year-old Laos-Loo winning the final performance 38.8 to 38.2.

“I’m speechless. I worked really hard to get to this point, so I’m really excited with what’s to come. Part of my achievement today is because I’ve been traveling to events so much. Learning from international tournaments has really helped me get where I am. I bring back a lot of knowledge every event I go to,” said Laos-Loo.

“I felt really comfortable (competing against my teammate). Sport is fun and I’m doing a sport I love and I’m doing it because I love my teammates as well. It made it that much more fun to compete today.”

Trahan Perreault placed fifth.

The Americans took the top-two spots on the female Kata podium. Sakura Kokumai won the gold, with Jessica Kwong winning the silver medal. Valentina Zapata Machado (Colombia) claimed the other bronze medal.

Claudia Laos-Loo was also one of three Canadian athletes to lock up a spot on Canada’s Pan American Games team. Lily-Rose Nolet (-68kg Kumite) and Ryan O’Neil (-75kg Kumite) also qualified for Santiago 2023 which will be contested later this fall.

For complete results at the PKF Senior Championships, please visit https://www.sportdata.org/wkf/set-online/popup_main.php?popup_action=results&vernr=704&active_menu=calendar

For more information on Karate Canada, please visit us at www.karatecanada.org.