When Christa Deguchi switched allegiances from Japan to Canada, she renounced the most successful nation in the history of her sport in favor of one that has never won an Olympic gold medal.
A junior world champion with the Japanese team in 2013 and 2014, the lightweight judoka will now come face to face with her former teammates as direct rivals, with the Tokyo 2020 Games on the horizon.
“There aren’t many judo players that have switched their nationality from Japan so it was a little strange,” Deguchi tells CNN Sport.”But 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.”
Christa Deguchi stands atop the podium at the 2018 Paris Grand Slam as the tournament’s first ever Canadian champion.