Montréal, July 27, 2018 – Canadian judokas Christa Deguchi and Jessica Klimkait both went all the way to the -57 kg finale on Friday during the Zagreb Grand Prix. It was a close bout between the two teammates, but there was ultimately a winner: Christa Deguchi, who, by doing so, also won the title.
The athletes, respectively ranked 13th and 14th in the world, had 2 penalties each with less than a minute left in the finale. With 38 seconds to go, Klimkait got a third one, sealing the outcome of the fight and making Deguchi the big winner.
“It was a hard fight, but I was happy to be against each other only in the finale. We proved that Canada was strong in our category!” said the gold medallist. “It’s a big win for me, but that’s only the beginning. I’m focusing on World Championships and the Olympic qualification.”
Deguchi didn’t know how to tackle her fight against Klimkait. “I didn’t know what I’d do with her. At first, I realized that I couldn’t get a good grip, so I wouldn’t be able to throw her. I changed my strategy to make her get shidos.”
Her victory made Klimkait finish second. “I’m a very active fighter, so I thought she’d try to immobilize me. I was ready to pick up the pace, and to counter the attacks,” said the silver medallist. “It was close; it could have been any of us. In that kind of situation, small mistakes make a big difference.”
“It was really tight,” said the national team head coach, Michel Almeida. “Both of them will be fighting for the only spot on the team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in their category, and it’s only the beginning. With how things are going, it’ll be a tough one. We’re hoping it’ll give us more podiums like today!”
Earlier in the competition, Jessica Klimkait had defeated Portguese Telma Monteiro, bronze medallist at the Rio Olympics and 4 times Worlds silver medallist, Netherlander Dewy Karthaus, and Russian Diana Dzhigaros, before winning again in the semi-final, this time against Rafaela Silva, the reigning Olympic champion.
“Jessica won against strong opponents. She was really consistent all day,” added Michel Almeida.
Deguchi won against Russian Natalia Golomidova, Kazakh Sevara Nishanbayeva, and Hungarian Hedvig Karakas, and in the semi-final against Japanese Haruka Funakabo.
“Christa had never fought against the Japanese. It was an important win for her today. She really brought her judo to another level in the semi-final,” said her coach.
Also fighting on Friday, Ecaterina Guica, ranked 20th in the world, was out after 2 bouts in the -52 kg category. After winning against Norwegian Madelene Rubinstein, she was eliminated by Israeli Betina Temelkova, 17th in the world.
The Zagreb Grand Prix will continue until Sunday in Croatia.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada
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