(Montreal) It took karateka Hana Furumoto-Deshaies one year for her to reach fifth in the world in the under 55 kg category. She is currently experiencing a lot of success internationally and her greatest wish is that all Quebec karate can benefit from it.

Winner of a rare Canadian gold medal at a Karate 1 Serie A tournament, the 26-year-old Gatineau resident was still “on a little cloud” at the start of the week. She had just experienced strong emotions at the Olympic Oval in Richmond, British Columbia.

His first two victories were followed by a strong comeback in the semi-finals. She hit Japan’s Akira Yatoiji with a kick to the head to take a 4-3 lead with six seconds to go. In the final, the Quebecer said she was carried by the crowd and won 3-0 against the Kazakh Gulmira Ussenova.

“I was very happy, but not surprised. I had prepared really well and visualized that moment so much! said Furumoto-Deshaies, who became the second Canadian in history to win Serie A gold after Ontario’s Haya Jumaa (-61kg), victorious in Shanghai in 2018.

“It was special to have all the support coming from the stands. Everyone who was there to encourage me, it’s not something you see often. […] The moment when I was the most jubilant was after the semi-final, when I scored in the last seconds. »

Following this tournament, Hana Furumoto-Deshaies went from 17th to 5th in the world in her category.

21-year-old Montrealer by adoption Selma Raad is on the third step of the podium in the under 61 kg category. She thus won the first medal of her career on the circuit thanks to a 7-1 victory against the American Julie Canete.

Last year, the name of Hana Furumoto-Deshaies was not in the world ranking, since she had not fought for three years. After a long break during which she lived in Japan, the karateka returned to the Larouche Karate dojo to meet sensei Rock Guindon, whom she has known for almost 20 years.

A former judoka turned full-time coach, Guindon welcomed the athlete with open arms.

“She came back with goals and within a year her progress was outstanding! We knew her potential, but there she acquired a maturity that took her to a whole new level. »

A first podium in Serie A was obtained in January, in Greece, then she ranked seventh in Paris in the Premier League, where the caliber is even higher. Her triumph in British Columbia was preceded by a gold medal at the North American Cup in Las Vegas which qualified her for the Pan American Games in November in Chile.

Beyond his technique and skills on the tatami, the mental aspect is another that Furumoto-Deshaies has prioritized lately.

“I got to know myself better to avoid certain pitfalls,” she explained. I was able to maintain a certain consistency by reminding myself that negative emotions are normal (that there are any). There are fears that can come back with nervousness and it should come as no surprise. Just refocus and play it all down. »

Further Serie A and Premier League tournaments are planned between now and the Pan American Games, in addition to the World Championships in October.

“Since I came back, my goal has been to go all out. I don’t want to give myself excuses this year and I want to challenge myself as much as possible. I’m very excited about what’s to come. »

About fifteen minutes had passed after the victory in Vancouver. Rock Guindon and Hana Furumoto-Deshaies were already seated in the stands discussing next steps. They had a sense of accomplishment, but they were far from satisfied.

The coach then told the gold medalist that she was paving the way for young Canadian karateka. To show them what the development of a high-level athlete requires, in her preparation as well as in the supervision offered to her.

“A word that describes Hana well is ‘professionalism’. She is doing everything she needs to do to maximize her potential and has sought the necessary help in order to be well surrounded. It really is a model for many. »

Asked about the impact that her victory in Serie A could have on her career, Hana Furumoto-Deshaies spoke of confidence, but above all of visibility for her sport in the country. She wants to spread the message that by uniting, Canadian karate can accomplish a lot.

“It’s about taking that visibility and seeing how I can help. There is something that works in what I do and I would like to share it with those who want to hear it. You have to talk and find a way to strengthen the community and stick together. Everyone does their own thing, so we can achieve more (goals) together. »

She would like to serve as an example so that in the years to come, many Canadian karatekas can follow in her footsteps and give back in turn.