London – UK, July 28, 2012 (Sportcom) – Sergio Pessoa Jr. (Under 60kg), Canada’s first judoka to take to the tatami at the London 2012 Olympic Games was defeated in overtime in his first bout against Yerkebulan Kossayev (Kazakhstan). After three minutes of additional time where neither judoka was able to dominate, referees gave the victory to Kossayev.
With roughly one minute left in overtime, Pessoa received a penalty which nevertheless didn’t benefit his adversary in terms of pointage; however, the Canadian feels the latter is what led to the match being decided in favour of the Kazakh athlete.
“When you get a penalty in overtime, it’s almost certain referees will give the victory to your opponent. There was about one minute left and I was trying attacks,” commented Pessoa who received a pass into the first round of matches. “The referees thought my attack lacked conviction, I guess. I don’t really know why I was penalized, since I don’t ‘pretend’ to attack.”
During regulation time, the Quebecois had indeed attempted to immobilize Kossayev on several occasions without success. “We both tried all sorts of moves but no one was able to score on the other. I expected a bout like that, since his style of judo is very closed, but I didn’t want to open myself up too much either, since his attacks can be dangerous. However, I did think that at the end I was performing better than he was. Overall my performance today was good, and I didn’t make mistakes, aside from continually using the same technique. There are no easy matches at the Olympics!” concluded the judoka who is currently ranked 26th internationally.
Pessoa maintained a slight advantage up to the beginning and in the first few minutes of overtime, before his competitor found a rhythm – a change which was visible on the face of Head Coach and father Sergio Pessoa Sr., watching from the sidelines.
“Sergio Jr. could have won the match if he had been a little bit more aggressive. You have to impress the referees because during a tight match, that may come into play. The penalty was fair, but the other athlete should have received penalties for non-combativity in regulation time,” commented Pessoa Sr.
Despite the disappointment of only having competed eight minutes in an Olympic tournament, Sergio Pessoa Jr. didn’t seek to make excuses, “Judo is like that when it come to tight matches. Sure, its disappointing for me, but I’ll get right back to training and working hard – as I have for the past few years. I’ll keep climbing international rankings and my judo skills continue to improve. At the Rio 2016 Olympics Games I’ll be better than I am today, for sure!” continued the Canadian judoka, who has come back from two serious injuries in the past four years.
“As a father you always want your child to win. As a coach, after four years of hard work, it’s a let down. On the other hand, the injuries he’s had in the past two years meant that he wasn’t able to be 100% prepared,” mused Sergio Pessoa Sr. himself a former Olympian who represented Brazil.
Sasha Mehmedovic (Under 66 kg) will be in Olympic action on Sunday, and will face El Salvador’s Carlos Figueroa.