Thrilling judo on Day 1 of Montreal Grand Prix as Japan tops standings

Thrilling judo on Day 1 of Montreal Grand Prix as Japan tops standings
By Philip Pangalos
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There was thrilling judo on display at the inaugural Montreal Grand Prix 2019 as Japan tops medals standings on Day 1, just ahead of hosts Canada


Hosted at the historic Montreal Olympic Park, Montreal’s inaugural Judo Grand Prix 2019 set off with high hopes for the home team.

And the -57kg final shaped up to be an all Canadian affair between Christa Deguchi and Jessica Klimkait, who were both on form in the preliminaries. 

Canadian clash: Christa Deguchi of Canada beat her teammate Jessica Klimkait in the -57kg final to take the gold medal

But it was Deguchi who claimed the gold medal, executing a fantastic strangle on her teammate, to score ippon and become our Woman of the Day.

I noticed that it wouldn’t be an easy fight this time, but I did my best, I want a gold medal from the worlds for Canada. So I was proud of myself and I was so happy for everyone to cheer for me, and I’m happy for my family, that I could win the gold medal
Christa Deguchi
-57kg gold medalist

The Canadian medals kept coming as Jacob Valois of Canada took his first World Tour medal after defeating Australia's Nathan Katz to win the -66kg bronze as the thrilled local crowd cheered him on.

Grand Prix gold: Kherlen Ganbold of Mongolia defeated Kenneth Van Gansbeke of Belgium in the -66kg final to take the gold medal

The -66kg gold went to 2017 World Master champion Kherlen Ganbold of Mongolia after he defeated Kenneth Van Gansbeke of Belgium in the final.

Sporting legend: IJF Ambassador and legendary gymnast Nadia Comaneci was in attendance alongside IJF President Mr Marius Vizer

Newly inducted as an IJF Ambassador Nadia Comaneci was in attendance, who in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games scored the first ever perfect 10 in gymnastics. 

Going for gold: Wakana Koga of Japan won the gold medal at -48kg after defeating Catarina Costa of Portugal in the final

Comaneci watched on with IJF President Mr Marius Vizer, as Wakana Koga of Japan took gold at -48kg after defeating Catarina Costa of Portugal in the final.

Dominant performance: Naohisa Takato of Japan won the -60kg gold after defeating Robert Mshvidobadze of Russia in the final

Our Man of the Day is triple World Champion and Olympic Bronze medallist Naohisa Takato of Japan  after storming through the preliminaries, dispatching all his opponents with a huge variety of techniques, showcasing different Judo styles. He faced Robert Mshvidobadze of Russia in the -60kg final. There he proved nothing could block his path to gold as he scored ippon with a stunning counter. It was a rematch of the World final from last year, and he showed he is still dominant.

Mr Marius Vizer presented Takato his gold medal.

In my preparation for these competitions I don’t practise anything specific, but one thing for sure is I love Judo, I watch a lot of Judo videos and I try a lot of things at practise, and that’s what leads to my performance
Naohisa Takato
-60kg gold medal winner

The -52kg category saw Junior World Silver medallist Gefen Primo of Israel take the gold medal, defeating Angelica Delgado of the USA after a lengthy contest. She was thrilled to take her first ever IJF World Tour gold.

First IJF World Tour gold: Gefen Primo of Israel took the -52kg gold medal after defeating Angelica Delgado of the USA

Move of the Day

Our Move of the Day came from Ireland's Nathon Burns who faced off against Imad Bassou of Morocco. An on-the-buzzer ippon securing him an -66kg bronze medal - his first ever on the IJF World Judo tour.

Maiden IJF World Judo Tour medal: Ireland's Nathon Burns provided our Move of the Day as he defeated Imad Bassou of Morocco to win the -66kg bronze medal

Japan leads medals table

Japan topped the medals standings table with two golds at the end of the first day of the three-day tournament, closely followed by hosts Canada with one gold, one silver and a bronze.

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