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.
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.
“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.
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.”
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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.