Canada dominates in Sarajevo with three medals 20 March 2023
“There are no guarantees in judo” – François Gauthier-Drapeau 26 March 2023
Jessica Klimkait continued her winning streak on Friday, once again finishing the day on the international podium in the under-57 kg weight class. She was able to overcome a heartbreaking loss in the semi-final to cap off the day with a bronze medal at the Grand Slam in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Klimkait has stood on the podium at every one of her twelve competitions since February 2020, including the Tokyo Olympic Games and two World Championships. Today’s bronze medal was the thirteenth of her Grand Slam career. To earn it, Klimkait had to get the better of Brazil’s Rafaela Silva in her final bout of the tournament. The 26-year-old managed to knock her opponent down with just over two minutes to go in regulation time. She attempted to immobilize Silva’s shoulders on the ground, but Silva was able to extricate herself. A few seconds later, the Canadian made another attempt and this time, Silva was unable to defend herself. She gave up, giving Klimkait her first win of the day by ippon. “Going into the final against someone I’m very familiar with, I knew I’d have to fight hard if I wanted to win,” explained the Ontarian, who has now fought Silva nine times. “I started the match at my own pace and tempo and kept my focus throughout each exchange. I knew that if I continued to fight that way, I’d find a way to win.” Earlier in the day, Klimkait defeated Bakyt Kussakbayeva of Kazakhstan, Lele Nairne of Great Britain and Jessica Lima of Brazil. She then lost to Nora Gjakova of Kosovo in the semi-final after receiving a third penalty six minutes and forty seconds into the fight. “My loss woke me up and I saw the bronze medal match as an opportunity to improve my mindset.” Gjakova later lost to Marica Perisic of Serbia in the big final. The other bronze medal in the under-57 kg category went to Veronica Toniolo of Italy. On Saturday, Antoine Bouchard will compete in the under-73 kg weight division, while François Gauthier-Drapeau and Mohab ElNahas test their mettle in the under-81 kg group.