Klimkait beats Deguchi in all-Canadian Grand Slam final at Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Jessica Klimkait defeated Christa Deguchi in an all-Canadian under-57-kilogram final Tuesday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament.

The match went to overtime, where Klimkait, from Whitby, Ont., remained patient in her attacks until Deguchi received a third penalty for non-combativity.

It was the third meeting this year between Deguchi, the two-time and reigning under-57 kg world champion, and 2021 champion Klimkait.

Klimkait won the Tel Aviv Grand Slam in February, while Deguchi, who previously competed for her native Japan before switching allegiances to her father's home country of Canada, prevailed in their showdown in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in June.

“It was a very tight, very tactical fight between the two best under-57 kilogram judokas on the planet, " Canadian coach Antoine Valois-Fortier said. "The win is great for Jessica’s points, as well as for her confidence."

In the under-52 kg weight division, Kelly Deguchi, Christa's sister, lost her first and only bout of the day to Ariane Toro Soler of Spain.

Montreal's Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (under-63 kg) and François Gauthier-Drapeau of Alma, Que., (under-81 kg) were scheduled to compete Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2023.

The Canadian Press