Christa Deguchi became the first Canadian woman to win a Judo World Championship medal when she claimed bronze on Saturday in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Deguchi defeated Theresa Stoll of Germany by an ippon for third place in the women’s 57 kg weight class. Her only loss at the 2018 World Championship came in the first round of the finals to Tsukasa Yoshida of Japan who went on to win gold.
Deguchi was proud of her first World Championship podium finish. She said, “It’s a big day for me, especially since these are my first Worlds! I’m proud to be a pioneer. Theresa threw me and scored a waza-ari, but I wanted that bronze medal. I still had energy, so I fought more aggressively for Canada and for myself. My next goal is to win the Osaka Grand Slam (in November), but my biggest dream is to win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”
Deguchi’s route to the World Championship bronze medal included a win over London 2012 silver medallist, Stefan Corina of Romania, and Nora Gjakova of Kosovo, ranked third in the world.
Deguchi won five gold medals in 2018 on her way to the World Championships, most recently at the Grands Prix in Zagreb, Croatia and Hahhot, China. She also won gold at the Pan American Championships in April and the Odivelas European Open and Paris Grand Slam in February. She is currently ranked sixth in the world.