It was a blink of an eye on Sunday evening: for the first time since 2017, the Belgian judokas ended the European Championships without a medal. Not an ideal scenario with the Olympic Games in Paris just around the corner.
Still, former judoka Dirk Van Tichelt calls for calm: “This is a wake-up call for the Belgians, but I don’t think it is a big problem.”
“Of course everyone expects the Belgians to return home with medals, but Matthias Casse and Jorre Verstraeten have been close,” says Van Tichelt. “For the same money, we were a bit more lucky, like last year (Belgium won 4 medals, ed.) and we now speak a different language.”
On paper, Casse was the favorite in his camp for third place, but his opponent made a very good move and the bronze was gone. “It just happens very quickly on the tatami.”
According to the ex-judoku, this achievement is not detrimental to the Olympic Games in Paris next year.
“A medal at the Games is certainly still realistic. Every judoka who qualifies for Paris certainly has a chance of winning a medal. This certainly includes the Belgians, who will come to Paris with a large group,” it sounds hopeful.
This blow therefore does not need to be dramatized, according to Van Tichelt. “The Belgians are better off experiencing this now than closer to the Games, now they still have time to quietly make the necessary adjustments. We should certainly not panic.”
Wondering whether the Belgians can turn the tables in Paris.