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Jessica Klimkait beats three Japanese on her way to gold
24 Nov 2018 15:00
Canadian judo talent Jessica Klimkait produced the performance of her career to win -57kg gold in Osaka. Cancun Grand Prix silver medallist Klimkait, who is locked in a battle with teammate Christa Deguchi in the race for Tokyo 2020, won her first Grand Slam crown at a crucial time in the Olympic qualification period with the season-ending World Judo Masters two weeks away.
Three-time Grand Prix winner Klimkait defeated Asian Games winner Tamaoki Momo (JPN) in the final with a morote-seoi-nage which was the only score of the contest. The Canadian, who came into the competition ranked ninth in the world, lived dangerously in the closing seconds as she kept her distance from her opponent and narrowly avoided receiving a third shido. Klimkait cried into the arms of her coach Sasha Mehmedovic and is only the non-Japanese gold medallist after two days of competition in Japan.
In the first semi-final Tamaoki saw off world champion Yoshida Tsukasa (JPN) by a waza-ari which was the only score of their competitive contest. In the second semi-final Klimkait shocked Junior World Championships gold medallist Funakubo Haruka (JPN) by a single waza-ari to secure a place in the final.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Funakubo against world bronze medallist Christa Deguchi (CAN). Funakubo won her third Grand Slam medal in 31 seconds by ippon after Deguchi attempted to move from ne-waza to tachi-waza and the Japanese judoka was waiting.
The second bronze medal was won by Hohhot Grand Prix bronze medallist Kwon Youjeong (KOR) after Yoshida was disqualified with a direct hansoku-make. Yoshida endangered her opponent by trying to turn Kwon over on the wrong side and the world champion had to settle for fifth-place.
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