Seventh Place for Kelly Deguchi at First Grand Slam

Adversity, Experience and a Fighting Spirit
12 October 2021
François Gauthier-Drapeau Goes Head-to-Head with No. 2 Ranked Judoka
18 October 2021
Photo : IJF / Di Feliciantonio Emanuele
Kelly Deguchi

Kelly Deguchi earned two victories at her first-ever Grand Slam in Paris on Saturday. The 22-year-old judoka then lost her third-round bout in the under-52 kg category and was eliminated in the repechage, for a seventh-place finish.

Deguchi started her day with a win by waza-ari over Léonie Gonzalez of France, then went on to defeat Katelyn Jarrell of the USA, who was disqualified.

Her first loss of the day came at the hands of Mongolia’s Bishrelt Khorloodoi, who later went on to win a bronze medal. Khorloodoi beat Deguchi by ippon.

“I was nervous about my first Grand Slam, but I calmed myself down before the tournament, and felt more relaxed before my bouts. The women I lost to have more experience than me. In the bouts that I won, I had a better strategy [than my opponents],” noted Deguchi.

In the repechage, Deguchi faced off against Alesy Kuznetsova of Russia. She received three penalties during the bout, putting an end to her day.

“It’s not the result I was hoping for, but I did my best and gained some experience. When I go back to Japan, it will help me with my training. I have another tournament next weekend in Málaga, and I now feel better prepared for it,” she added.

In the under-63 kg group, Isabelle Harris of British Columbia lost her first-round match to France’s Rania Drid, who scored a waza-ari 53 seconds into the bout and held onto her lead until time ran out.

First Experience for Gabriel Juteau

Gabriel Juteau (under-73 kg) was also at his first career Grand Slam. The Québécois fought Guillaume Chaine of France and lost by ippon with 43 seconds left in regulation time.

“From a strategic point of view, I think my day could have gone better. I made the same error several times, so I should have adapted my approach a little better during the fight,” said Juteau.

It was the 24-year-old’s first competition in two years, and he feels that his lack of experience showed at the Grand Slam.

“I felt good. Physically and mentally, I was ready. The difference was that it was my first tournament in two years, so I was less concentrated than usual during my bout. I was nervous at the beginning of the day, knowing I’d be fighting some high-level opponents.”

Canadians Julien Frascadore and Hakim Chala suffered similar fates, each losing his first bout of the day in the under-66 kg category. Frascadore bowed out to Erkhembayar Battogtokh of Mongolia, while Chala was defeated by Walide Khyar of France, who went on to claim a bronze medal.

The Grand Slam will continue on Sunday. Constantin Gabun and François Gauthier-Drapeau will be in action in the under-81 kg category, while Louis Krieber-Gagnon will compete in the under-90 kg group.


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