Judo Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced the names of the athletes nominated to represent Canada in judo at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games.
Six athletes qualified for Team Canada following a gruelling and challenging selection process. The process started on May 25, 2018, and ended on June 13, 2021, following the World Championships in Budapest.
“This team is possibly the best we’ve ever had,” said Nicolas Gill, Judo Canada’s CEO and High Performance Director. “Numerous challenges and exceptional circumstances led this group to outdo themselves. They were able to keep their focus and spirits up despite the roller coaster conditions. Part of the work is done. Now we have to focus on one goal and not look back.”
Leading the way is the newly crowned world champion, Jessica Klimkait, who will make her Olympic debut in the women’s 57 kg category.
“It will be an honour to represent Canada at Tokyo 2020,” said Klimkait. “Representing Canada at the Olympics will be one of the proudest moments of my life. Over the past five years I have been relentless in my pursuit of this goal, but this is just the beginning.”
The most experienced judoka on the team will be Antoine Valois-Fortier, who will compete in the men’s 81 kg event at his third Olympic Games. In his debut at London 2012, burst onto the scene by winning bronze for Canada’s first Olympic medal in judo since his coach Nicolas Gill won silver at Sydney 2000.
“This will be my third Olympic Games and I am as excited to represent Canada as I was the first time,” said Valois-Fortier. “I am really looking forward to being in action for Canada. Over the past few years, I have been through a lot and have bounced back. The pursuit of a second medal is one of my goals, however, it is with more composure and maturity that I will approach the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. I am proud to be a part of this group of athletes, and with the support of a great team I know we are heading to Tokyo with great medal potential.”
Japan is the birthplace of judo, making it all the more special to compete there this summer. The venue, Nippon Budokan, is considered the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts. It was initially built for Tokyo 1964 when judo made its Olympic debut, making it a major legacy of those Games. It was also the site of Canada’s first Olympic judo medal when Doug Rogers won silver. Judo events will be held July 24 to 31 (Day 1 to 8) at the Nippon Budokan, host of the inaugural Olympic judo competition, 57 years ago.
“There are so many exciting things about this team,” said Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission, Marnie McBean. “I am so pumped to see Antoine once again nominated, he has been an incredible example of resilience and determination! The depth of competition within weight classes in Canada to earn these nominations has been incredible! I have no doubts that will be reflected in their performances in Tokyo.”
The athletes and coaches nominated are:
1. Ecaterina Guica (La Prairie, QC) – 52 kg #28
2. Jessica Klimkait (Whitby, ON) – 57 kg #1
3. Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (St. Hubert, QC) – 63 kg #7
4. Arthur Margelidon (Montréal, QC) – 73 kg #8
5. Antoine Valois-Fortier (Quebec City, QC) – 81 kg #9
6. Shady Elnahas (Mississauga, ON) – 100 kg #8
1. Sasha Mehmedovic (Montréal, QC) – National Coach – Senior
2. Janusz Pawlowski (Montréal, QC) – Assistant National Coach
3. Nicolas Gill (Montréal, QC) – CEO and High Performance Director
4. Tiffany Hunting (Montréal, QC) – Head Therapist
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organizations.
Patrick Esparbès, Chief Operating Officer
Josh Su, Specialist, Public Relations
Canadian Olympic Committee