World no 1 Canadian judoka Klimkait and World no 2 Christa Deguchi to fight off for 57kg Olympic spot

~ This is the road and path I want to take - Jessica Klimkait

"VAN" (Sports Desk) :: Fresh from her gold-winning moment at the Grand Slam in Budapest, Hungary last October, Canadian judoka Jessica Klimkait has never been surer about her place in judo. After beating Helene Receveau of France in the finals, not only did she claim top spot on the podium but Klimkait rose to world no 1 in the -57kg category - a dream that only few have attained.

“Getting the number one spot is a sort of a confirmation that I'm going in the right direction,” the 23-year-old athlete told Tokyo 2020.

“It’s a reward for my hard work. But it's nowhere near over. So it's a little bit of a motivation to try to stay there.”

Klimkait’s win came at such a significant time, as the Grand Slam event was the first judo competition to take place after the sport went into hiatus due to COVID-19. That’s why, for the 23-year-old judoka, this victory had a special meaning after dealing with training restrictions and returning from a knee injury earlier in the year. On the day of the competition, she felt ready.

“Winning was obviously really nice, but it was more in the fashion in which I won, where I felt so dominant throughout the day. And that obviously gave me like a lot of confidence," she said.

“It really showed me that even with the restrictions that we have here in Canada, I'm still able to improve and work on things and really work with what we have, with the resources that we have. So that was really nice.”

While this is Klimkait’s third Grand Slam victory after Osaka in November 2018 and Dusseldorf in February 2020, winning Budapest is a step towards many other goals including the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

"There's still lots of things that have to be done in terms of results for me. And I still want a world championship medal. I want to go to the Olympic Games. I want to get a medal there.”


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