Judokas Are Ready for Action at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

Absent from the 2018 Commonwealth Games, judo is back in Birmingham, newly minted as a core sport in the Commonwealth Games programme. Judo will be contested for the fourth time at the Commonwealth Games, following appearances at Auckland 1990, Manchester 2002 and Glasgow 2014. The event is slated to run August 1-3 at the Coventry Arena.

Judo Canada has selected nine experienced athletes to represent Canada, all of whom are making their Commonwealth Games debut. Among them, Olympian Shady El-Nahas (Men’s -100kg), Olympic medalist Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (Women’s -63kg) and former World Champion Christa Deguchi (Women’s -57kg). Both women are currently riding a wave of success, recently taking gold in their respective weight categories at the 2022 Zagreb Grand Prix in Croatia held earlier in July.

The team is being helmed by new Judo Canada Head Coach, Olympian Antoine Valois- Fortier, who is no stranger to success or major games, mentoring this talented squad as they build their experience in the hopes of qualifying for the Olympics.

The Commonwealth Games rookies are enjoying life in the Athlete’s Village, taking in the Opening Ceremonies and a few events where their fellow Team Canada athletes were competing.

“For many, with the exception of Catherine and Shady, these are their first or second major games. It’s great that they get to be a part of Team Canada, meet athletes from other sports, follow the medal tracker, go to other events,” says Valois- Fortier. “It’s really a great experience for them. They really appreciate it. I think they will learn a lot and that it will help them, hopefully, qualify for the Olympic Games.”

The judo competition launches tomorrow and will be a family affair, with the Deguchi sisters taking to the tatami. Kelly (-53kg) and Christa (-57kg), who live and train in Japan and compete for Canada, are expected to be serious medal contenders here in Birmingham.

The competition will continue over three days and coach Valois-Fortier expects that his athletes will deliver the hardware for Canada.

CBC Sports will feature daily feeds of the sport competitions available on CBC Gem, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. Check out https://www.cbc.ca/sports/commonwealthgames for details. 

In addition, visit https://commonwealthsport.ca/ for news photos and videos of all the Team Canada action.