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© NWT JUDO ASSOCIATION / ASSOCIATION DE JUDO DES TN-O

Japan is a lot different from where she had ever been before, but even if she points out that cars are on the other side of the road and that you’re not supposed to eat in the street, Gabrielle Desforges says that she’s not experiencing a cultural shock. She feels great in that country. “I grew up reading Mangas, watching Japanese cartoons and doing Judo.

Gabrielle Desforges could not wish for more as she was celebrating her 18th birthday last December: the young athlete spent 11 days in Japan, the birthplace of Judo, enrolled in a training trip with nine other senior Canadian female judokas. She trained at the Inter – national Budo University in the fishing town
of Katsuura, (2:30 hours west of Tokyo). During her stay, she practiced three hours per day of intense Judo where she would fight with Japanese and Chinese partners.

Desforges thinks this experience is beneficial. “I’m more and more confident as I’m beating talented girls from elsewhere. I’m training really hard and I can see the results. I’m feeling really well here. Japanese and Chinese train really seriously and they always fight at their best. Every fight is like a
competition; it’s intense.”

Gabrielle Desforges is now training in Quebec, thanks to a grant from the Government of the Northwest Territories, as part of the High Performance Athletes Program. She competes nationally in the 57Kg category.

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