Seven Team Canada judokas will hit the tatami at Paris 2024

Seven Team Canada judokas will take to the tatami at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

The team includes Olympic bronze medallist Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, world number one Christa Deguchi, her younger sister Kelly Deguchi, and 2024 World Championship silver medallist Shady Elnahas. 

Beauchemin-Pinard will be making her third Olympic appearance, having won women’s -63kg bronze at Tokyo 2020 after navigating the challenging transition from the -57kg weight class in which she competed at Rio 2016.

In 2022, Beauchemin-Pinard won -63kg silver at the IJF World Championships for her first senior world championship medal. She added a gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

After a difficult tournament at the 2023 World Championships in Doha, Beauchemin-Pinard took gold at the Grand Slams in Abu Dhabi 2023 and Tbilisi 2024. The 29-year-old is currently ranked second in the world in her weight class. 

“I see the Paris Games as a logical continuation of my hard work over the last few years. I want to savour every moment leading up to the Games, whether it be the difficult training sessions, receiving my Olympic gear, or even the opening ceremony. My ultimate goal is to stay rooted in the present moment each step of the way, and to perform to the best of my abilities on the big day,” says Beachemin-Pinard.

Christa Deguchi in a white outfit takes her opponent in blue to the judo mat
Christa Deguchi competes against Julia Kowalczyk of Poland in the women’s 57kg event at the Antalya Grand Slam on March 31, 2023 (IJF/Emanuele Di Feliciantonio)

Two-time world champion (2019, 2023) Christa Deguchi will make her Olympic debut at Paris 2024. Canada’s most decorated female judoka, Deguchi won silver at the 2024 IJF World Championships to keep her atop the -57kg world rankings. Among her other accolades are a gold medal from the 2022 Commonwealth Games and 11 Grand Slam gold medals, including three in 2024. She has not missed the podium in any international event since August 2023. 

Deguchi narrowly missed out on Olympic qualification three years ago due to the high level of competition within Canada in the women’s -57 kg class. The current world number two, Jessica Klimkait, won bronze for Canada in the event at Tokyo 2020. 

Deguchi is one half of one of the several sibling duos on Team Canada for Paris 2024. She’ll be joined by sister Kelly, who will make her Olympic debut in the women’s -52kg class. She won silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

Shady Elnahas returns for his second Olympic Games, having finished fifth in a hotly contested men’s -100kg tournament at Tokyo 2020 where he made it through the repechage to fight in a bronze medal bout. In May, he won the first world championship medal of his career, taking silver after having to withdraw from the final due to injury. 

A judoka in white throws a judoka in blue to the mat
Shady El Nahas of Canada competes against Nathaniel Keeve of the United States in the Men’s -100kg Judo Quarterfinals during the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games on Monday, October 30, 2023. Photo by Leah Hennel/COC

Elnahas took gold at the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games and the 26-year-old has five Pan American Championship titles to his name. In 2024, he won silver at the Grand Slams in Tbilisi and Antalya. He enters Paris 2024 ranked third in the world in the -100 kg category. 

“I’m particularly amped for these Games because we were really in another bubble after the pandemic in Tokyo. In Paris, I really want to fully live and make the most of each moment. I’m also looking forward to performing to the best of my ability, showcasing everything I’ve got and giving it my all to bring home a medal this time. What motivates me and fires me up is this saying: Dare to be great. It will stay with me through each of my fights,” says Elnahas.

Arthur Margelidon will compete at his second Olympic Games in Paris, having also finished fifth at Tokyo 2020 in the men’s -73kg class. Margelidon was supposed to make his Olympic debut at Rio 2016, but a broken arm two weeks before the Games forced him to attend as a spectator. With more than 30 Grand Slam appearances to his name, the 30-year-old brings a wealth of competition experience to Team Canada. He won Grand Slam bronze in Baku earlier this year before going on to win gold at the 2024 Pan American Championships. 

Judoka Arthur Margelidon pumps his fist in celebration
Canadian Arthur Margelidon reacts after defeating Tohar Butbul of Israel in Judo repechage action during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Monday, July 26, 2021. Photo by Stephen Hosier/COC

François Gauthier-Drapeau will make his Olympic debut at Paris 2024 in the men’s -81kg class. Currently ranked fifth in the world, Gauthier-Drapeau stood on two Grand Slam podiums this year and won silver at the Pan American Championships. 

Ana Laura Portuondo Isasi is also headed to her first Olympic Games after a remarkable return to international competition in late 2023 after six years away. Competing in the women’s +78kg category, Portuondo Isasi won silver at the 2024 Pan American Championships. Earlier in her career, she won bronze at the 2014 World Junior Championships.  

Team Canada has won seven Olympic medals in judo. The most recent were at Tokyo 2020 where Klimkait and then Beauchemin-Pinard were Canada’s first female Olympic medallists in the sport. Head coach Antoine Valois-Fortier won bronze at London 2012 while high performance director Nicolas Gill is a two-time Olympic medallist.   

The Olympic judo competitions will run from July 27 to 3 August at the Champ-de-Mars Arena.

Team Canada Judokas at Paris 2024

Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (Montréal, QC) women’s -63 kg
Christa Deguchi (Shiojiri, Japan) women’s -57 kg
Kelly Deguchi (Shiojiri, Japan) women’s  -52 kg
Shady Elnahas (Toronto, ON) men’s -100 kg
François Gauthier-Drapeau (Alma, QC) men’s -81 kg
Arthur Margelidon (Montréal, QC) men’s -73 kg
Ana Laura Portuondo Isasi (La Prairie, QC) women’s -78 kg