Jessica Klimkait wins 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam

Jessica Klimkait (right) (Rodolfo Vilela, Wikimedia Commons)

Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Jessica Klimkait of Whitby, Ontario won the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Final on Tuesday from the United Arab Emirates. In an all Canadian final in the women’s 57 kilogram lightweight division, Klimkait defeated Christa Deguchi of Lethbridge, Alberta.

Klimkait, who won the bronze medal in the women’s 57 kilogram division at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, won all four of her matches. In addition to beating Deguchi for gold, she beat Fidan Alizada of Azerbaijan and Daria Kurbonmamadova of Individual Neutral Athletes (of Russia) in Pool C action, and Pauline Starke of Germany in the semifinals. Deguchi beat Ophelie Vellozzi of France, and Lele Nairne of Great Britain in Pool A action, before beating Seija Ballhaus of Germany in the semifinals. Kseniia Galitskaia of the Individual Neutral Athletes (of Russia), and Jessica Lima of Brazil shared the bronze medal.

For Klimkait, it was her sixth grand slam gold medal. She had previously won in Osaka, Japan in 2018, in Dusseldorf, Germany in 2020, in Budapest, Hungary in 2020, in Antalya, Turkey in 2022, and in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2023. This is the second time that Klimkait beat Deguchi in a grand slam final, as she also beat her in Tel Aviv in February.

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