Japanese-born judoka Christa Deguchi fell short in her bid to represent Canada at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics after failing to defend her women’s 57-kilogram crown Tuesday at the judo world championships in Budapest.
Jessica Klimkait will compete for Canada in the 57-kg class in Tokyo after winning her first world championship with a golden-score victory over Japan’s Momo Tamaoki in the women’s final at Budapest’s Laszlo Papp Arena.
Deguchi and Klimkait came to Hungary ranked No. 1 and 2 in the world, respectively, but Klimkait secured the Olympic spot by advancing to the championship final following Deguchi’s semifinal loss to Tamaoki.
A Nagano native, Deguchi represented Japan before switching her competitive allegiance to Canada, her father’s birthplace, to improve her chances of reaching the Olympics. Her mother is Japanese.
She became Canada’s first-ever judo world champion at the 2019 tournament in Tokyo.
Having led the race for Olympic selection thanks to her strong past results, the 25-year-old fell at the final hurdle in Hungary, succumbing to Tamaoki by golden score in the semifinals before losing her bronze-medal bout against Germany’s Theresa Stoll.
Deguchi expressed her disappointment while thanking her fans on social media.
“I couldn’t even make it to the starting line. What a let-down. To everyone who supported me, I am truly grateful,” she tweeted in Japanese.
Only one judoka per country can compete in each weight category at the Olympics, according to International Judo Federation rules. Deguchi is expected to be named as an alternate for the Canadian team, according to a Canadian media report.
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