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Deguchi wins 2nd career gold at judo worlds, Canadian teammate Klimkait adds bronze

Christa Deguchi, who became the first Canadian to reach the medal podium at the world judo championships in 2018, is now a two-time champion.

She made a successful move for ippon in the women’s under-57 kilogram final versus Japan’s Haruka Funakubo after getting a waza-ari on the board just over a minute into Tuesday’s match in Doha, Qatar.

Deguchi, who was born in Japan but whose father is a Canadian citizen, previously won the world title in 2019, one year after earning bronze.

The world No. 2 defeated Enkhrillen Lkhagvatogoo of Mongolia in her semifinal after scoring two waza-ari.

Deguchi, who missed out on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after finishing behind teammate Jessica Klimkait at 2021 worlds, won gold last summer at the Commonwealth Games. She also won at the Croatia Grand Prix and Baku Grand Slam.

“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 to The Canadian Press. “In that moment, she really showed us her best judo.”

On Tuesday, Klimkait picked up bronze in the same division at the 62nd edition of worlds.

The Whitby, Ont., native rolled Hasret Bozkurt of Turkey onto the tatami for the waza-ari and was awarded another after pinning her adversary to the mat, ending the contest in 49 seconds.

After losing to Lkhagvatogoo in the quarterfinals, Klimkait took the repechage route on the way to the podium.

“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 Klimkait to The Canadian Press.

She acquired gold in 2021 and collected bronze last year in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Klimkait also became the first Canadian female judoka to win an Olympic medal (bronze) at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

In men’s action Tuesday, Arthur Margelidon of Montreal won a repechage match for a chance at bronze in the under-73 bracket, but was assessed three shidos (penalties) in a loss to Murodjon Yuldoshev of Uzbekista.

About 600 athletes from 100 countries are competing for 15 world titles, including seven individual categories for men and women, and a team event on the final day Sunday.

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