Edmonton, May 18, 2019 – The U16 and U21 athletes were in action on the mats of the Butterdome at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, for the Canadian Open Judo Championships.
For Kelly Deguchi, it was a first competition experience in Canada. At 20 years old, Christa Deguchi’s younger sister decided to follow her footsteps and recently chose the Lethbridge Judo Club, in Alberta, as her new team. After seeing the support and success Christa has gotten from Judo Canada, Kelly was inspired to try it out for herself. Her first experience was a success, winning the gold medal in the U21 -57 kg category. “I was very nervous this morning, but I did my best, and I’m very happy. The Canadian girls are very quick and powerful, it was not an easy victory,” said the judoka who will fight again tomorrow in the senior category. “I’m happy with my decision to come here, and I’m hoping I can represent Canada in international tournaments with my sister in the future.”
Greta Goasdoue-Wallace (-63 kg), from Hiro’s Judo Club, in Calgary, stood on the highest step of the podium for the second day in a row. The 14-year old won a surprise gold medal on Friday in U18, and a second one in U16 today. Her first fight was won by ippon after a few seconds, setting the trend for the day. “I felt ready today, because I knew the girls I was up against. With the medal I won yesterday, I knew today would be a good day. Last year I fought in U16 and I won the silver medal, so it was great to come back and do even better this year!”
On the men’s side, in U16, Norbert Andras, 14, was undefeated in the -55 kg category for the second year in a row. “I was a little nervous this morning, but after the first fight, I thought ‘I got this,’ and I knew I’d be able to win a medal.” He will be fighting again next month at the Canada Cup, trying to defend another title he won last year.
Last but not least, Joel Demaere (-60 kg), from Lethbridge Judo Club in Alberta, was trying to win a first title in U21, having won a gold medal in U16 two years ago. “I had a really good weight cut before the tournament, so I felt strong and confident coming in. I felt really good, I was able to keep my nerves under control, so it really was a perfect day.”
Manitoba’s Small but Mighty Team
The province of Manitoba decided to play it safe for this edition of the Canadian Open Judo Championships, only bringing the very best athletes to bring medals home. Airton Nakamura, one of Manitoba’s provincial coaches, was satisfied with his team’s performance. With only 10 athletes fighting today, they were able to win 1 gold and 3 silver medals.
“So far, so good! Our athletes are consistent, so the ones who were expected to medal did. The younger ones might need a little more experience, but that’s what they’re here for, and they’ll come back ready to win it next year,” he said. “We might try to involve them in more tournaments before Nationals next year, to make sure they have the experience and maturity to perform at a high level. We were able to maintain our performance level from last year, which was a good year for us. Most of our athletes fighting in senior tomorrow are actually U21, but we expect the same level of effort from them, and we have high hopes. They are a strong team, and they have the potential to win more medals.”
|Medals after day 2|
|Prince Edward Island||0||1||1||2|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||0||0||1||1|
Tomorrow, the senior athletes will be under the spotlight for the last day of the event. Watch the live streaming and see live results at judocanada.tv.
Written by Sarah Mailhot for Judo Canada
Chief Operating Officer