MONTREAL – Judo Canada is proud to announce the two athletes nominated to represent Canada at the second Summer Youth Olympic Games, which will take place in Nanjing, China, from August 16 to 28. Jessica Klimkait, from Whitby, Ontario, will battle in the 63 kg weight class, while Montreal-native Louis Krieber-Gagnon will compete in the 81 kg weight class.
Last August in Miami, both Canadians were crowned gold-medal winners at the U-18 World Championships. In Nanjing, both athletes will be competing under the tutelage of two-time Olympian turned coach,Sasha Mehmedovic.
The Youth Olympic Games will be uncharted territory for Klimkait, a U-18 Worlds champion in the 52 kg weight class who will be competing for the first time in the 63 kg division. During an interview, she insisted that she remains undaunted by the jump to a higher weight class, despite never having fought before in this division in international competition.
“I’m expecting to do well,” she said, this coming from someone who, over the last few months, has fought primarily in the 57 kg weight class. “I decided to make the jump to a higher weight class and yes, the girls will be bigger; regardless, I won’t be intimidated. I believe that I will manage quite nicely, since we will all be the same age,” she said, adding that she is very much looking forward to meeting the other athletes, as well as learning about the Chinese culture.
“This experience will motivate me even more to perhaps, one day, compete at the Olympic Games,” she was quick to point out.
Prior to the Youth Olympic Games, this young athlete’s travels will take her to Europe, where she will be competing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Klimkait will be joined on this trip by Louis Krieber-Gagnon, who can’t wait to square off against his opponents.
“I can’t wait to see what it will be like; it will be a new experience for me. All participating countries will be sending their best athletes to compete at the Youth Olympic Games, and there isn’t a heck of a lot of difference between all those involved,” the Montrealer said.
Once he arrives in China, the Canadian hopeful doesn’t necessarily view his participation in the Nanjing Games as an overall rehearsal for the Rio Olympics, which will take place in two years.
“The favourites to earn a spot on the team that will be heading to Rio are much older than me,” he explained while referring to the likes of Antoine Valois-Fortier, bronze medal winner at the London Games, who happens to be in the same weight class as him.
Both Jessica Klimkait and Louis Krieber-Gagnon have their judo matches scheduled for Monday, August 18.