Montreal, November 22, 2019 – Jessica Klimkait (-57 kg) celebrated her comeback to competition by winning a bronze medal on Friday on the first day of the Osaka Grand Slam, in Japan. The Ontarian ended her day with a victory against Japanese Tsukasa Yoshida, second on the IFJ world ranking.
“It was a very important fight for me! It had been almost three years since I had been up against Yoshida, and I was ready for the challenge. I’m a lot more confident now, and I wanted to prove myself I could beat her in competition,” explained the athlete who had to stay out of the mats for over six weeks after being injured in the summer.
Being the 2018 Osaka Grand Slam champion, Klimkait said her main goal was to win gold for a second year in a row, but she’s happy with what she did.
“It was my first time back since my injury and I was hoping to climb on the highest step of the podium, but considering everything, I’m happy with how I reacted and how I fought. It’s a great motivation for the competitions to come.”
Klimkait’s only mistake happened in the quarterfinal, when she lost by ippon at the end of a long match against Japanese Haruka Funakubo. “It’s the only bout in which I didn’t perform well! I did what I had to do to win, but in the last moments in overtime, I focused on a single attack to provoke a shido,” added Klimkait, who thinks the result could have been different if she had followed her game plan until the end.
“It was a lack of judgment on my part, because she wasn’t moving, and if I had kept going at the same pace, I would probably have won.”
A victory against Romanian Loredana Ohai sent Klimkait to the bronze-medal final.
The Canadian judoka had previously defeated Chinese Hongjie Tian and Netherlander Sanne Verghagen earlier in the day.
Seventh Place for Guica
For her part, Ecaterina Guica ranked in seventh place in -52 kg.
She started the day off by defeating Chinese Kexin Zhang and Mongolian Sosorbaram Lkhagvasuren, both by ippon.
She was then defeated in her third fight, against the eventual silver medallist, Japanese Uta Abe. The Quebecoise ended with a loss in repechage against Brazilian Larissa Pimenta.
On the men’s team, Jacob Valois and Julien Frascadore were both in action in -66 kg.
After getting a bye through the first round, Valois won against Gavin Mogopa, from Botswana. He then was defeated in the next round when faced with a tough opponent, Japanese Joshiro Maruyama.
“After my win in the first round, I was up against the current world champion. I wanted to be more aggressive on the grip, but I couldn’t do it,” said Valois, who then saw the Japanese continue all the way to the finale, where he was defeated by his teammate Hifumi Abe.
Frascadore lost his first fight against Azerbaijani Orkhan Safarov, putting an early end to his day.
The action will continue on Saturday in Osaka with Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg), Constantin Gabun (-73 kg), Arthur Margelidon (-73 kg), Étienne Briand (-81 kg) and Antoine Valois-Fortier (-81 kg) under the spotlight.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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