One of Canada’s top female judo athletes has Olympic aspirations

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1 of Canada’s top female Judo athletes has Olympic aspirations
WATCH ABOVE: Christa Deguchi , a former member of the Canadian Kyodokan Judo Club, is in Lethbridge this week to host clinics for members. Deguci is currently ranked No. 6 in the world and aspires to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games. Malika Karim reports on her inspiring journey to represent Team Canada – Dec 20, 2018

Twenty-three-year-old Christa Deguchi is a Canadian Judo athlete.

In 2018, she medaled in five major world championships, breaking a Canadian record.

“She’s the first Canadian woman to place at a World Championship,” said Mike Tamura, president of Judo Canada, “as well as to win one of the biggest tournaments in judo which is the Paris Grand Slam, which hosts probably the second-largest contingency of top level athletes in the world.”

Born in Nagano, Japan, Deguchi has paternal ties to Canada.

“I [grew] up in Japan, but my father was from Winnipeg,” she said. “My dad wanted me to be strong so I can protect myself, so I just started judo.”
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She began her judo training at three years old, admitting she doesn’t have a particular ‘go-to’ move, but does take joy in a particular movement.

“I like everything; I like to throw people,” Deguchi said amidst laughing.

The now-Canadian athlete started her career representing a different country’s flag.

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“I use to be on team Japan,” she said, “but I wanted to fight for Canada.”

Deguchi is currently ranked number six in the world, with her eyes focused on the future.

“Well, my final plan is to win [the] Tokyo Olympic Games,” Deguchi said. “So, well, I want to have a gold medal at the worlds so I can be ready for the Olympics.”

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Meanwhile, team Canada is fully behind her.

“I think she has a great chance,” Tamura said. “Judo is a physical sport similar to other martial arts, but she’s confident and she’s got that drive and willingness to persevere through everything.”

WATCH: Olympic Oval in Calgary transformed to host largest Judo championship in Canada

Click to play video: 'Olympic Oval in Calgary transformed to host largest Judo championship in Canada'
Olympic Oval in Calgary transformed to host largest Judo championship in Canada

When asked about the Worlds in 2019 taking place in Tokyo, and having to compete against athletes she may have trained with in the past, Deguchi didn’t shy away from the question, instead using it to fuel her ultimate goal.

“Big pressure in Japan, but I have to be used to that for the Olympics,” Deguchi said.

If Deguci qualifies for the 2020 Olympics., she has the potential to become Canada’s first female Judo Olympic medalist.

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