Two female judokas mid matchPhoto: IJF/Sabau Gabriela
Photo: IJF/Sabau Gabriela

Deguchi defeats Klimkait in all-Canadian showdown for Judo Grand Slam gold

In an all-Canadian showdown for gold on Thursday, Christa Deguchi came away with the victory against Jessica Klimkait at the Judo Grand Slam in Antalya, Turkey.

In the final of the 57kg weight class, Klimkait was called for shido (false attack) three times, the third resulting in hansoku-make and her disqualification from the match.

This was the sixth meeting all-time between the two since they first went head-to-head in April 2018. Prior to Thursday, they last met on the mat in the final of the Montreal Grand Prix in July 2019. Deguchi has dominated those head-to-heads, winning all six. The last five of those showdowns have been in gold medal matches.

Last week at the Grand Slam in Tbilisi, Georgia, Deguchi won bronze in her first competition in more than a year. She now has five Grand Slam gold medals in her career.

READ: Christa Deguchi wins bronze at the Judo Grand Slam in Georgia 

Klimkait’s most recent podium appearance was at the Doha Masters in January when she finished third. In October 2020, her gold at the Grand Slam in Budapest led to her taking over top spot in the 57kg world rankings from Deguchi.

Four female judokas on podium

Christa Deguchi and Jessica Klimkait on the podium at the Judo Grand Slam in Antalya, Turkey on April 1, 2021 Photo: IJF/Sabau Gabriela

Heading into the Grand Slam in Antalya, Klimkait still held onto the number one ranking with 7040 points. But Deguchi was close behind in third place with 6956 points. The rankings will be updated on Monday.

With each country limited to one entry per weight class at Tokyo 2020, the fight for that 57kg Olympic spot between Deguchi and Klimkait continues to intensify. After the world ranking list closes on June 28, 2021, it is expected that Klimkait and Deguchi will have one more head-to-head showdown to determine which judoka will get to wear the maple leaf in their sport’s homeland.