Montréal, December 4, 2022 – Despite a very close loss in the repechage, Kelly Deguchi showed she was on the right track Sunday at the Tokyo Grand Slam. On the tatami in the Under 52kg class, the Canadian finished her tournament with a record of two wins and two losses, earning her a seventh place finish.
“Kelly had a good day – in fact one of her best of the season, and she should be very proud of that,” noted National Team Coach Antoine Valois-Fortier.
“In the end, even though I didn’t make the podium, I’m happy with my result. I saw several things that I can work on and thanks to this experience I’ll come back stronger at my next competition,” commented Kelly Deguchi.
This summer’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games silver medalist started her tournament with an ippon win over Kazakhstan’s Gaukhar Irmagambetova, and then continued her winning ways in the next round, claiming a victory over Mexico’s Paulina Martinez after scoring two waza-ari.
“I think I had a good start to be honest. In my first two fights, I was able to impose my judo style effectively,” added Deguchi.
“She (Deguchi) really unleashed her ground work skills and was super efficient. It’s always been one of her strengths, but for some reason, in the past Kelly wasn’t able to maximize the advantage of that strength in competition. Today she was able to do it well,” said Valois-Fortier.
When confronting Japan’s Ai Shishime – World Champion in 2017 and 2021- the match was more of a challenge. The Japanese judoka scored two waza-ari in the first minute, sending Deguchi to the repechage. Shishime went on to claim the second step of the podium and silver medal in the category later in the day.
Deguchi then faced South Korea’s Jang Seyun, where extra time was needed to settle who would be the eventual winner. Sadly, it was Seyun, who won by ippon after more than six minutes of intense athletic fighting.
“Kelly came close to taking her opponent to the ground on several occasions. After a long fight in overtime, the South Korean scored a technical first. It was very close in terms of penalties – Kelly had the best opportunities, but her opponent attacked a little more often for the eventual win,” analysed the coach.
Also in action on Sunday in the Japanese capital, Canadian Kyle Reyes was limited to one bout in the Under 100kg class.
Facing France’s Aurélien Diesse, the Ontario native’s opponent took the lead after two minutes, and quickly tied the match thereafter: Diesse scored an ippon in overtime, thereby eliminating the World Vice-Champion.
“It was not an obvious match, it was tricky. However, Kyle had a great summer, so it was reasonable that he couldn’t be on top every time. We’re now focusing our energy on the Masters event, in two weeks,” concluded Coach Valois-Fortier.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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