Christa Deguchi has always represented Japan in international competition, but this week she will don a Canadian judogi for the first time at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, being held in the United Arab Emirates.
Born in Nagano in 1995, Deguchi has been passionate about judo for as long as she can remember. She was introduced to the sport by her grandmother, and from the first time she put on a judogi, she was hooked.
“I was three years old. My grandmother was a hairdresser and one of her clients was a sensei. He came to get his hair cut one day and while he was there, he asked me why I didn’t practice judo. So I tried it and I’ve been a judoka ever since,” she explained.
Deguchi is a citizen of both Canada and Japan. She was delighted to be approached by Judo Canada about joining the Canadian team.
“The national team seems great. There are not as many judokas here as there are in Japan, but they’re passionate and they train hard. I love watching them because it’s obvious that they love what they do. Joining the Canadian team is a great opportunity for me,” affirmed the new recruit.
She spent some time in Montreal this summer to train with her new teammates, and was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome she received. “They were so nice. I don’t speak English very well but they were happy to talk to me anyway.”
Her visit also provided her with the opportunity to get to know Montreal, where the Judo Canada National Training Centre is located. “It’s a great city. It’s different from Japan, but not all that different. Nature is all around and I like that. This wasn’t my first visit to Canada. I came here when I was ten to see my grandmother, but I was pretty young.”
A Sport that Relies on Communication
Although judo is an individual sport, Deguchi appreciates the teamwork that it nevertheless requires. “To practice this sport, you need to have someone with you. You have to communicate with people from all over the world. It allows you to connect with others,” she explained.
Deguchi is currently studying law, but once she hangs up her competition judogi for good, she’d also like pass her passion for judo on to the next generation.
“I love teaching judo. It’s very important to me. If possible, I’d like to help young girls and boys discover this sport, which is so good for both physical and mental health,” she said.
In the meantime, she hopes to win medals at the Olympic Games and the World Championships and knows she will have to work hard to attain her dream. “It won’t be easy. But winning creates such a feeling of pride and makes you want to train even harder.”
Directeur général adjoint
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