Christa Deguchi, “the judoka who left Japan for judo glory”, according to the CNN, starred in the -57kig category as the 2018 world bronze medalist and became Canada’s first senior world champion. Montreal Grand Prix winner, Deguchi, 23, won the world title from defending champion Yoshida Tsukasa (JPN), who was a teammate of her’s until she switched allegiances from her home country, Japan, to Canada.
Born in Nagano Prefecture to a Japanese mother and a Canadian father who came to Japan as an English instructor. Deguchi began judo at the local Shinshinkan Dojo at the age of just three, after she got scouted from a local prominent sensi at her grandmother’s hair salon. She won a number of international titles and quickly established herself as Japan’s most exciting talents from a young age. At Matsusho Gakuen High School she won the championship by defeating Yoshida at All Japan Junior.
In 2012, Deguchi was approached to represent Canada by Canada’s most decorated judoka, Nicolas Gill. The two-time Olympic medalist who is currently a performance director saw “signs that she could be a world-class athlete,” according to the CNN Sport.
Despite his multiple contacts, Deguchi refused. Over a span of time, she realized her best bet to make the Olympics would be to compete for Canada. She eventually agreed to represent Canada. Her father’s nationality allowed her to compete for Canada. Deguchi told CNN sport, “There aren’t many judo players that have switched their nationality from Japan so it was a little strange,” and “My dad is Canadian and I’m half-Canadian, so I thought it would be nice to fight for another country. I wanted to fight for Canada.” At the championship, her father was matside all day as a photographer.
A “quiet and very nice person” off the mat, Christa is interested in trivia, animals and human physiology and she is fiercely determined about her ambitions to get a medal at Olympics.