Montréal, July 8, 2022 – For the past few years, Jessica Klimkait (Whitby, ON) has regularly appeared on the podium at international competitions, and this weekend’s Budapest Grand Slam was no exception. At the end of a busy workday on Friday, the Canadian judoka clinched the bronze medal.
Following a first-round bye in the under-57 kg category, Klimkait began her day with a sweet victory over Kitti Kovacs of Hungary. However, in her second bout, she bowed out to Haruka Funakubo of Japan, who later won the gold medal.
“Jessica had a good day. She’s currently preparing for the World Championships. [Funakubo] is in terrific shape right now, so she was a good challenge for Jessica. Jessica dominated the bout almost from start to finish, but Funakubo took advantage of a ground transition to gain the upper hand and win,” commented coach Antoine Valois-Fortier.
With her head held high, Klimkait returned to the tatamis a few moments later for the repechage, where she defeated Mina Libeer of Belgium to earn her ticket to one of the bronze medal finals.
In that round, she quickly disposed of Cuba’s Arnaes Odelin Garcia by ippon to add a bronze medal to her collection.
“In the repechage and the bronze medal final, she didn’t make any errors. It was a great way to end the day and we were happy to see her on the podium. Her throws were well-executed and her medal was well-deserved,” added Valois-Fortier.
The only other Canadian in action on Friday was Kelly Deguchi of Lethbridge, AB. She finished the day with one win and one loss in the under-52 kg weight division.
She defeated Italy’s Giulia Pierucci in the first round before losing to Hungary’s Reka Pupp in the second. Pupp later advanced all the way to the gold medal bout, where she defeated Italy’s Giulia Carna to be crowned champion.
“Kelly wasn’t one of the top seeds so she had to face the front runner early on. She fought well, but the Hungarian was excellent. She’s been improving quickly. It won’t take much for her to progress to the next level,” concluded the coach.
On Saturday, three Canadians will hit the tatamis in Budapest: Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg), François Gauthier-Drapeau (-81 kg) and Mohab El Nahas (-81 kg).
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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