FIRST CANADIAN JUNIOR PAN AMERICAN GAMES CHAMPION
CALI, VALLEY, COLUMBIA, Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 – the first ever Junior Pan American Games were held from November 25 to December 5, in Cali and Valle, Columbia. Yamina Lahyanssa won gold in the female -50 kg kumite category, covering this historic event with success. This medal guarantees her an invitation to the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
31 athletes between the ages of 15 and 22 from the next generation of Team Canada were participating in the 2021 Pan American Junior Games, including 4 karate athletes.
- Émile Desrosiers, Saint-Lambert, Quebec, Male +84kg
- Kristin Dixon, New Maryland, New Brunswick, Female -61kg
- Yamina Lahyanssa, Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Female -50kg
- Megan Rochette, Ottawa, Ontario, Female -55kg
The Games brought together approximately 3,500 athletes from 41 countries of the Americas in 27 sports. The karate events featured the usual WKF U21 kumite categories from December 3 to 5.
Yamina Lahyanssa decorated with gold and Canadian flag bearer
Yamina Lahyanssa topped her first round group with points with a win and 2 draws. She first faced Ana Clarice Ananias Magalhaes of Brazil against whom she finished her match scoreless. She then defeated Aryson Davidnia Perez Santamaria from Nicaragua with a score of 1-0. Her last match also ended in a scoreless match against Lili Brigith Alvarado Araujo of Ecuador, maintaining her position at the top of the group, tied with the latter.
In the semi-final, she defeated her Chilean opponent Catalina Angel Valdes Olguin with a score of 3-2, allowing her to reach the final of the category, against Mexico. She then defeated Mexico’s Irma Paola Delgado Villarreal by a score of 4-1 to become the first Junior Pan American Games champion in the -50 kg category.
Following this victory, Team Canada chose her to become the official flag bearer for the closing ceremony of the Games, an honour worthy of her performance.
A high level of competition
Although this was the first junior Pan American event since 2019, the level of competition was very high for this event. The other three Canadian athletes also proudly defended the maple leaf in this competition.
In male kumite +84 kg, Émile Desrosiers defeated his opponent from the United States, but didn’t manage to repeat this success against Brazil and Mexico. Finishing 2nd in his group, he only missed out on the chance to reach the semi-finals by one ranking position. Unfortunately, having failed to defeat her opponents from Colombia, Puerto Rico and Guatemala, Kristin Dixon was unable to reach the semi-finals in the women’s -61kg kumite category. In, the women’s -55 kg kumite category, Megan Rochette started conservatively with a tie against Brazil, but was unable to defeat her opponents from Mexico and the United States, so her journey also ended in the first round.
A great first event
The Junior Pan American Games were presented for the first time at this edition, as the multi-sport event has only been organized for the senior categories in the past. “It was a great experience at the Games, with great organization and framework, and extraordinary athletes!” said Denis Beaudoin, head coach of the Canadian junior kumite team, who was present at the Games. The Canadian karate delegation also had a referee on site, Jaroslav Tarana.
About Karate Canada
Karate Canada is a not-for-profit corporation with the objective of describing and incorporating all activities related to the promotion, organization, regulation and popularization of the sport of karate all over Canada, of protecting the physical and emotional health of athletes, and of promoting the interests of karate throughout Canada.
Karate Canada and its 11 Provincial and Territorial Associations members normally assemble roughly 16,000 participants nationwide. Furthermore, Karate Canada is a proud member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, the World Karate Federation and the Pan American Karate Federation. See more at www.karatecanada.org