Christa Deguchi Ends Year on Top

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Christa Deguchi (-57 kg) had some great moments in 2022, including victories at the Baku Grand Prix in July and the Zagreb Grand Prix in November. On Tuesday, the Albertan made sure to end the year right by winning the gold medal at the Masters Tournament in Jerusalem, Israel.

In the big final, Deguchi found herself up against Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Sarah Léonie Cysique of France in a hard-fought match that went into overtime. The Canadian was declared the winner when her opponent forfeited due to an injury.
“This was probably Christa’s best performance since she won the world championship in 2019. The final was very tight. Although Christa made some strong advances, the fight was still scoreless after four minutes. Unfortunately, Cysique hurt her knee during overtime, and that’s how it ended,” explained coach Antoine Valois-Fortier.
“Anything can happen during overtime, but I think Christa had the upper hand. She’s very happy with her performance. It’s a great achievement for her to finally win the Masters Tournament for the first time,” added Valois-Fortier.
Today’s victory was a form of payback for Deguchi, as Cysique defeated her in their last encounter at the Antalya Grand Slam in Turkey in early April.
Deguchi began the day today with a first-round bye. In her first fight, she needed only 26 seconds to dispatch of Pauline Starke of Germany. Next, in the quarter-final, she ousted Tsukasa Yoshida of Japan.
“To start off her day, (Christa) scored a spectacular ippon in less than 30 seconds,” noted Valois-Fortier. “In the next round, she managed to score twice against a very strong opponent. She really dominated that match.”
In the semi-final, Deguchi faced Mimi Huh of South Korea. In a fight lasting just over two minutes, the Canadian defeated her young opponent with two waza-ari, securing her spot in the grand final.
In the under-52 kg category, her sister Kelly Deguchi was eliminated in her first fight of the day by Ana Perez Box of Spain. Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo took top honours in the division by defeating Chelsie Giles of Great Britain.
“Kelly is still in development. Box is left-handed, and Kelly struggles with left-handed opponents. She fought well today, and she really expressed herself well, but the ippon caught her off-guard,” concluded the Canadian coach.
The Jerusalem Masters Tournament will continue on Wednesday. Arthur Margelidon (-73 kg), François Gauthier-Drapeau (-81 kg) and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg) will all be in action.

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