In a remarkable feat, the 21-year-old judoka from the Republic of Korea, Huh Mimi, has been crowned the new -57kg World Champion. This historic achievement comes after Huh defeated two of the top players in her category – World Champion Jessica Klimkait of Canada in the semifinals, and double World Champion Christa Deguchi, also of Canada, in the final.

Huh’s journey to the pinnacle of the sport has been marked by her unwavering determination and the ability to learn from her past defeats. She had previously lost to both Klimkait and Deguchi, with Klimkait defeating her in the semifinal of the 2023 Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam, and Deguchi besting her in the 2022 Jerusalem World Masters. However, Huh demonstrated her capacity to adapt her strategy and overcome these formidable opponents.

In the semifinal against Klimkait, Huh emerged victorious through a tactical battle, winning by penalties. This was a particularly impressive feat, as their previous encounter had also been decided by penalties, with Klimkait coming out on top. Huh’s ability to adjust her approach and rise to the occasion against the World No. 1 showcased her growing maturity and technical prowess.

Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam 2023, -57 kg, HUH Mimi, GALITSKAIA Kseniia, DEGUCHI Christa, KLIMKAIT Jessica ©Di Feliciantonio Emanuele

Grand Prix Portugal 2024, -57 kg, FINAL KOR HUH vs AIN KURBONMAMADOVA ©Kulumbegashvili Tam

Interestingly, Huh’s losses have often been due to penalties rather than being thrown or caught on the ground. This suggests that she is a technically sound judoka who is adept at avoiding ippon-level techniques from her opponents. Her ability to learn from these experiences and make the necessary adjustments has been a key factor in her recent success.

As the East Asian Judo Federation looks ahead to the Paris Olympics, Huh Mimi’s triumph at the World Championships has undoubtedly added to the excitement and anticipation surrounding our judokas. With her unwavering determination, tactical acumen, and willingness to learn, Huh is poised to be a formidable contender for the coveted Olympic gold medal.

Abu Dhabi World Championships Seniors 2024 Mixed Teams, ROUND OF 16 KOR HUH vs AUT KALLINGER, -57 kg ©Kulumbegashvili Tamara

Abu Dhabi World Championships Seniors 2024 Individuals, -57 kg, KLIMKAIT Jessica, TAMAOKI Momo, HUH Mimi, DEGUCHI Christa ©Kulumbegashvili Tamara