Christa Deguchi Runner-Up World Champion Following Lengthy Final -Bronze for Jessica Klimkait

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Montréal, May 20, 2024 (Judo Canada) – At the World Championships in Abu Dhabi on Monday, the under-57 kg final lasted more than 12 minutes, and Canada’s Christa Deguchi put in a remarkable performance. In the end, a third penalty relegated her to second place, where she claimed the fourth World Championships medal of her career.

Photo: IJF / Tamara Kulumbegashvili

Five years ago, Deguchi won Canada’s first-ever gold medal at the Senior World Championships. She reclaimed that title in 2023, and today, she did her best to defend it in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates.

Deguchi, who is ranked number one in the world in the under-57 kg weight category, performed brilliantly all day today. Following four solid victories, only one opponent stood between her and the third senior world title of her career: Mimi Huh of South Korea.

A minute and forty seconds into regulation time, Deguchi and Huh had received two penalties each. Once the eight minutes and eighteen seconds of overtime were added to the combat, the two judokas had fought for the equivalent of three consecutive bouts. Each time one of them attempted an attack during the exciting final, her opponent managed to neutralize it.

As the clock ticked on, the fatigue set in. Ultimately, an exhausted Deguchi was penalized for non-combativity in overtime, thus putting an end to the showdown.

“The final was very tactical,” explained national team coach Antoine Valois-Fortier. “At the end of a long fight like that, the slightest error or hesitation can be fatal. The athletes want to win, and they try to find a way to do so, but this fight was locked up pretty tight, and it was hard to find a way out of it.”

On her way to the big final, Deguchi disposed of Belgium’s Mina Libeer, Guinea’s Mariana Esteves, and Israel’s Timna Nelson Levy, all in less than two minutes each. She kept up the pace in the semi-final, where she defeated Japan’s Momo Tamaoki to advance to the gold medal final.

“Christa had a fantastic day. She dominated her first three bouts. In the semi-final, after she scored her waza-ari, she did a good job of controlling the fight to maintain her lead over [Tamaoki],” said Valois-Fortier, proudly.

For some time now, Deguchi has seen great success at the international level. She has ten consecutive Grand Slam podium finishes to her name, the most recent of which took place in Kazakhstan just eight days ago, when she won a gold medal that boded well for the World Championships. She will now focus her energies on the Olympic qualification process, which will come to an end on June 23.

Podium finish for Klimkait

Canada was represented twice on the under-57 kg podium today. Deguchi was accompanied by Jessica Klimkait, who won a bronze medal in the same category.

“I really have to commend the consistency and strength of character of the two Canadians. There was a lot of pressure today, and they were very impressive to watch,” noted the coach. “Jessica came back really strong for the bronze medal. What strength of character! It’s not something I’ve seen often. She had a great day.”

Ontario’s Klimkait began her day by ousting Julie Beurskens of the Netherlands by waza-ari. She then forced her next two opponents, Arleta Podolak of Poland and Enkhriilen Lkhagvatogoo of Mongolia, to take three penalties each, thus enabling her to advance to the final four, where she bowed out to the future champion, Mimi Huh. The South Korean scored a waza-ari 38 seconds into the bout, and the Canadian was unable to retaliate.

However, despite the loss, Klimkait, who is ranked second in the world, knew she still had work to do today. Undaunted, she approached her fight against Israel’s Timna Nelson Levy with great intensity.

She quickly set the pace of the match, knocking over her opponent just 20 seconds into the bout to score a waza-ari. In the final moments of the fight, Klimkait immobilized Nelson Levy on the ground to clinch her third consecutive World Championships bronze medal. In 2021, she won gold.

On the men’s side, Julien Frascadore took part in the first World Championships of his career. He lost his only bout of the day in the under-66 kg weight division to Daikii Bouba of France.

In the under-73 kg category, Arthur Margelidon was halted in the second round. After defeating Jorge Cano Garcia of Spain, he bowed out to Tatsuki Ishihara of Japan, who later won the silver medal.

Canadians Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-63 kg) and François Gauthier-Drapeau (-81 kg) will hit the tatamis on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.


Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

For more information:

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

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