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Montréal, May 8, 2023 – Alberta’s Kelly Deguchi (-52 kg), the first Canadian to hit the tatamis at the Doha World Judo Championships in Qatar, saw her day come to a sudden end under unusual circumstances on Monday.

Deguchi and her opponent Ben Liu of China each received a third yellow card more than eight minutes into overtime, resulting in automatic elimination for both judokas. Consequently, Diyoria Keldiyorova of Uzbekistan became the default winner of the bout, as she had a bye for the next round—a rather unusual situation.

“It’s definitely extraordinary, but not in a good sense. I’ve only seen this happen once in my entire judo career,” explained Canadian coach and former athlete Antoine Valois-Fortier, clearly disappointed.

“It was a very long, close fight, with both sides attacking. I don’t know what the referees saw, so right now, I have no idea what happened. They penalized both athletes at the same time, so it was a double disqualification. I don’t know any more than that,” said Valois-Fortier, still in shock and at a loss for words two hours after the end of the match.

According to Valois-Fortier, Deguchi and the Chinese team share his incomprehension of the officials’ decision.

Deguchi and Liu last faced each other at the 2022 World Championships, where Lui won by ippon. This year, things were different for the Canadian.

“Kelly did much better today (Monday). The athletes both fought intensely, and it was a well-balanced match. Before the final penalty, both were attacking well. […] Kelly had better opportunities to clinch it, and she came close a couple of times. That’s what makes this result even more disappointing.”

In the first round, Deguchi defeated Charné Griesel of South Africa by pinning her.

Despite today’s unfortunate outcome, 24-year-old Deguchi has made great progress over the past few months, according to her coach. Her win at the European Open in Sofia, Bulgaria, last February played a big role in that, in his opinion.

“The World Championships serve as a great benchmark for the athletes’ progress, and Kelly is heading in the right direction. She’s in a good position to win some key fights, and she’s developing a better understanding of international judo.”

On Tuesday, Christa Deguchi and Jessica Klimkait will fight in the under-57 kg draw, while Arthur Margelidon will compete in the under-73 kg group.

Klimkait won a bronze medal at the Tashkent World Championships last year in Uzbekistan.

Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada

For more information:

Patrick Esparbès
Chief Operating Officer
Judo Canada
(514) 668-6279