Christa Deguchi Back on Top!

VOLUNTEER POSITION: Member of the Risk Management Committee
12 February 2024
Two More Medals for Canada in Baku
17 February 2024

Montréal, February 16, 2024 – After taking silver two weeks ago at the Grand Slam in Paris, Christa Deguchi put in another excellent day’s work on Friday, this time at the Grand Slam in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Albertan was unstoppable, making her way unhindered to the top of the podium in the under-57 kg weight category.

Photo IJF
Nora Gjakova, Christa Deguchi, Daria Bilodid and Eteri Liparteliani

Following a hard-fought semi-final in which she defeated Eteri Liparteliani of Georgia, Deguchi did not have to compete in the final since her opponent, Nora Gjakova of Kosovo, had to default due to an injury. Consequently, it took Deguchi four victories to be crowned champion.

“Christa is very happy to have won the gold medal. By her own admission, today wasn’t one of her best days ever, but she kept pushing, and she found a way to win each of her bouts. That she was able to beat some of the best in the world, even though it wasn’t exactly her best day, is a very good sign,” said Canadian coach Antoine Valois-Fortier.

Deguchi got off to a flying start this morning, with two quick wins against Altantsetseg Batsukh of the United Arab Emirates and Julia Kowalczyk of Poland. Things got a little tougher in the quarter-final, but she nevertheless managed to edge out Daria Bilodid of Ukraine in overtime.

“In her first two fights, Christa scored two impressive ippons very quickly. But in the quarter-final and the semi-final, she had to dig a little deeper to come out ahead. They were difficult fights in every sense, but she prevailed brilliantly,” added Valois-Fortier.

Deguchi, who is firmly established at the top of the rankings in her weight division, has reached the big final at her last seven Grand Slams, and has won the gold medal three of those times.

Two other Canadian judokas were in action on Friday.

In the under-52 kg division, Kelly Deguchi won her first two bouts before bowing out to Ana Viktorija Puljiz of Croatia in the third round. She was unable to bounce back in the repechage, where she lost to Aydan Valiyeva of Azerbaijan.

“It had been a while since Kelly finished in the top seven at a Grand Slam. There were a lot of positive elements. Of course, we would have liked her to go all the way, but we’re focusing on the positive,” noted the coach.

On the men’s side, Julien Frascadore (-66 kg) defeated Georgios Balarjishvili of Cyprus in the first round before losing to Yashar Najafov of Azerbaijan in the next. Najafov, who is sixth in the world, went on to win one of the category’s bronze medals.

“Julien pulled off an impressive win early in the day against a formidable opponent. And Najafov is one of the best there is right now, but Julien was great against him, too! But with about a minute to go in the match, Julien was thrown, and it completely turned the tide. He’s continuing to improve,” concluded Valois-Fortier.

The Baku Grand Slam will continue on Saturday. Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg), Arthur Margelidon (-73 kg), and François Gauthier-Drapeau (-81 kg) will all hit the tatamis.


Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

For more information:

Patrick Esparbès
Chief Operating Officer
Judo Canada
(514) 668-6279

Subscribe to our newsletter – Inscription à notre infolettre

Subscribe to our newsletter – Inscription à notre infolettre

Subscribe to our newsletter – Inscription à notre infolettre