Casse came into action for the first time around noon at the European Judo Championships in Montpellier. In the second round of the -81 kg category, our compatriot Edi Sherifovski faced him, but the Macedonian turned out to be a size too small. After 15 seconds Casse scored an Ippon. In the next round the Russian Timur Arbuzov waited. The camp remained closed for a long time and went to a golden score. Casse still took control of the fight.
In the quarterfinals, Casse had to face Austrian Wachid Borchashvili. That fight also went to a golden score and lasted a lot longer. It was a battle of attrition lasting more than 11 minutes, and our compatriot had to finish in the final. The Antwerp native had to make a cross about a second European title, but a bronze medal was still a possibility through the rematches.
Casse secured a place to beat the Ukrainian Mikhailo Svidrak. In the battle for bronze he had to compete against the Frenchman Alpha Oumar Djalo, who played a home match. Djalo scored an ippon, meaning Casse did not reach the podium of the European Judo Championships in the category up to 81 kilograms for the first time in five years. In 2019 he took gold.
Matthias Casse: “I made a crucial mistake”
After bronze (2020) and two silver (2021, 2022), Matthias Casse wanted to be on the top step after the European Championships, just like in 2019, but for the first time in five years he did not receive a medal of honor at the European Championships. “It is the first time in a long time that I have to leave a championship without a medal and that hurts,” said the world number one in the 81 kilogram class.
“I have already analyzed the camp with my trainer (Mark van der Ham) and it is clear that I am making a crucial mistake. That should not happen at this level. I lost against two opponents who weren’t really any better. That can happen. The preparation was good, but today I didn’t feel 100 percent.”
“Perhaps I could have handled a few things more sensibly during the preparation. In Belgium it is not always easy. I often have to go abroad to find high-quality sparring partners. Some of my opponents find better training opportunities in their own country.”