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Christa Deguchi defeats Jessica Klimkait in all-Canadian final
9 Feb 2019 20:05
Canadian Christa Deguchi successfully defended her Paris title with a win over teammate and World Judo Masters bronze medallist Jessica Klimkait in the U57kg final. The duo are locked in a battle for Canada’s one potential spot at the Olympics next year with both ranked well inside the world’s top 10 on the IJF ranking list.
World bronze medallist Deguchi extended her one-sided record against Klimkait to 4-0 as the world number seven narrowly beat the world number five by a waza-ari score from a last-ditch o-soto-gari with five seconds left in the contest.
In the first semi-final 2018 Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Kim Jisu (KOR) was pinned down by Deguchi for 20 seconds. In the second semi-final Klimkait beat Düsseldorf Grand Slam bronze medallist Lkhagvatogoo Enkhriilen (MGL) who picked up her third shido in golden score.
The first bronze medal was won by World Judo Masters bronze medallist Tamaoki Momo (JPN) who thwarted Lkhagvatogoo inside the opening minute with osaekomi for 20 seconds and her fifth Grand Slam medal. The second bronze medal was won by Kim who unceremoniously sent Olympic champion Rafaela Silva (BRA) over flat onto her back with a o-uchi-gari after one minute of golden score.
Having already won three times against Klimkait in the last year, Christa Deguchi was victorious once against in the historic finale. In a close bout, the bronze medallist of the last Worlds won by waza-ari in the last seconds of the fight.
“The Paris Grand Slam is the biggest event after the World Championships and the Olympic Games, and until last year, Canada had never won a gold medal. Christa repeating her exploit to give Canada its second gold medal in history in Paris is exceptional. On top of that, having to face Jessica in the finale is definitely a historic moment for Canadian judo,” commented Nicolas Gill, the CEO and High Performance Director of Judo Canada.
Before her duel against Klimkait, Deguchi had won her first four fights by ippon. “I feel great. I didn’t want to give back my gold medal. I wanted to keep it,” said Deguchi.
“It was a hard match in the finale because it was against Jessica. She makes me stronger.” Deguchi was happy to find her momentum again after a difficult start in 2019. “I was a little nervous before Paris, because I wasn’t sure I could win. I had a lot of pressure and I wasn’t in good condition, but I tried hard. I didn’t focus on winning, but rather on doing my best, and it worked!”
Even though she’d have preferred the gold medal, Jessica Klimkait was happy to be part of the historic event. “It’s a hard loss, but it only encourages me to keep pushing forward. The match was close, but I unfortunately made a mistake that cost me the match in the last few seconds,” she admitted.
Her day will allow her to plan her 2019 season. “As this is the first tournament of the year, I wanted to be able to walk away with valuable goals that I can work on to progress my judo. There were fights where I wish I had performed better, but I was glad to have reached the finals.”
A high-level duel
Like Christa Deguchi, Jessica Klimkait defeated all her previous opponents by ippon before reaching the finale with her teammate.
“They both had a great day today. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see them fight each other, but at the same time, it’s good for Judo Canada. They truly proved that they are dominant,” said the assistant national coach Sasha Mehmedovic. “I’m very happy and proud. They came ready and they showed up to fight and get on the podium. It’s their third final since the beginning of the Olympic qualification period and they prove that they are in the top contenders in their category.”
Athlete quotes by JudoCanada
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