Canadian judoka Deguchi wins world title, Klimkait claims bronze

Gold medalist Christa Deguchi of Canada poses during the medal ceremony for women's -57kg competition at the World Judo Championships in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Hussein Sayed/AP Photo)

DOHA, Qatar — Canadian judoka Christa Deguchi won the gold medal in the women’s under-57-kilogram event Tuesday at the judo world championships.

The Japanese-born Deguchi, who lives and trains in Lethbridge, Alta., defeated Haruka Funakubo of Japan in a championship match that lasted less than 90 seconds.

Deguchi scored a waza-ari, or half point, by knocking Funakubo on her backside. A few moments later, she threw Funakubo onto her back for an ippon, or full point.

Jessica Klimkait of Whitby, Ont., earned bronze in the same classification, fighting through the repechage to defeat Hasret Bozkurt of Turkey.

Montreal’s Arthur Margelidon was fifth in the men’s under-73 kg event, losing to Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Yuldoshev in overtime with a berth in a bronze-medal match on the line.

Deguchi won her second world title after claiming gold in the same event four years ago.

“Christa was nervous at the beginning of the day, but as the day progressed, she seemed more and more at ease, and she topped it all off in a spectacular final, where she dominated her opponent from start to finish,” said Canada coach Antoine Valois-Fortier. “In that moment, she really showed us her best judo.”

Klimkait claimed bronze for the second worlds in a row.

“Although I came here wanting more, I’m glad to know that I’m consistent from year to year. I went into the bronze medal match with the intention of laying down my own tempo, my own attacks and my own style,” said the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist.

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