Shady Elnahas in a white judo uniform raises a finger in victoryIJF/Tamara Kulumbegashvili
IJF/Tamara Kulumbegashvili

Elnahas wins silver for Canada’s third medal of judo world championships

Following the silver and bronze medals won on Monday by Christa Deguchi and Jessica Klimkait in the women’s 57kg event, two more Canadian judokas were in medal matches on Thursday, with Shady Elnahas coming away with the silver in the men’s 100kg event.

Ranked fourth in the world in his weight class, Elnahas faced off with fifth-ranked Zelym Kotsoiev of Azerbaijan in the final. One minute and two seconds in, Kotsoiev scored a waza-ari, which stood up for the victory at the end of the four minutes of regulation. It is the first career world championship medal for Elnahas, who finished fifth last year and in 2021, just a few weeks before he finished fifth in his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

Elnahas had advanced to the final after defeating fellow Canadian Kyle Reyes — ranked seventh in the world — in the semifinals. Reyes took the loss after receiving a penalty (shido) for non-combativity after six minutes and 15 seconds of fighting. That was his third penalty of the bout. The defeat relegated Reyes, a 2022 World Championship silver medallist, to a bronze medal bout where he lost to Spaniard Nikoloz Sherazadishvili. In another match that went to overtime, Reyes took a third penalty at the 8:49 mark.

A country can only qualify one judoka per weight class for the Olympic Games. By being the highest ranked Canadian in the men’s 100kg event at the world championships, Elnahas has earned two points towards Judo Canada’s selection criteria.

Deguchi takes silver, Klimkait bronze at IJF World Championships

It was a fourth career world championship medal for Christa Deguchi at the IJF World Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Monday.

Deguchi began the tournament with her name in red on the back of her judogi, an honour reserved for the reigning world champion in the category. The 28-year-old judoka fell in a tough final against Mimi Huh of South Korea. The final lasted more than 12 minutes, against a regulation time of four minutes. A third penalty awarded to the Canadian meant that she missed out on victory.

Deguchi wasn’t the only Canadian on the podium. Jessica Klimkait took bronze in the same women’s -57-kg division. The 27-year-old also lost to Huh in the semifinals, before moving on to take down Israel’s Timna Nelson Levy to snag the bronze medal.

Canada is in a tough spot with its depth in the women’s -57-kg division. Despite Deguchi and Klimkait both being top ranked athletes, only one can be selected to represent Canada at Paris 2024, as only one athlete per nation can compete in a given division. By finishing higher at worlds Deguchi scored two points towards Judo Canada’s selection criteria. The selection process will also take into account whichever athlete is higher in the world rankings at the close of the qualification window, as well as results from the 2022 and 2023 world championships. Klimkait edged out Deguchi for the spot on Team Canada ahead of Tokyo 2020 by winning gold at the 2021 world championships. Klimkait won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Games.

The excitement isn’t over yet for Team Canada in Abu Dhabi though. Another Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, will compete in the bronze medal match of the women’s -63-kg division on Tuesday.