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Belgian Ilse Heylen oldest ever World Cup winner in judo
12 Mar 2016 20:40
It was almost two years ago since Ilse Heylen won a World Cup event but on Saturday in Casablanca the Belgian veteran added another record of becoming the oldest ever winner of a World Cup in judo history. Almost 39, at 38 years and 357 days she captured the gold in the Morocco U52kg and confirmed she will likely be among the participants of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Heylen and World Championships was never a success but the Olympic Games give her special powers. In 2004 she captured Olympic bronze in Athens and in 2008 she was again in the top eight. In 2012 when you think the age of 35 will become a barrier, she finished fifth. What ‘s next at the age of 39. In 1992 her compatriot Robert Van de Walle finished seventh at the Olympic Games in Barcelona at the age of 38.
Today in Casablanca Heylen defeated youngster Astride Gneto, but everyone is a youngster compared to the Belgian lady. Heylen doesn’t feel double as old as Gneto (19). Her sister Priscilla blocked the way to the podium in London 2012 defeating Heylen in her last Olympic match of her third Olympic Games.
Although the field wasn’t the most crowded with 14 women today, it‘s still 100 points and strategical worth while to travel to Casablanca. Heylen overcame Kubra Tekneci (TUR) in her first match and Leandra Freitas of Portugal in the semi final. Last week Heylen was awarded in her country for her career. Her ultimate award will be in Rio de Janeiro. Heylen is now ranked 12th in the clean Olympic Ranking, the first 14 qualify directly for Rio.
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With an Olympic bronze medal and a European title, Ilse Heylen belongs to the group of most successful Belgian judoka of all time. She competed at three Olympic Games, seven World Championships and countless international tournaments and marked more than 400 international contests in JudoInside’s database that she used to showcase her career. Read more
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Ilse Heylen got an invitation by the IJF to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. However without any preparation she cancelled this invitation and is in fact back to the day she missed the Olympic Games. The wounds are open again after her missed chance for her fourth Olympic Games, but the IJF simply invited Heylen who's first on the list of the continental quota. It's not an IJF demand to replace an injured athlete but a procedure to stick upon the Olympic quota. Read more
Big differences today between medal winning athletes and those who came to the conclusion that Rio is far away, or so far away that another Olympic dream remains a dream. For Belgian veteran Ilse Heylen Friday the 13th seems to be the abrupt end of her long career. The 39 year old triple Olympian was on her way to her fourth Olympics when her development this year got stuck. Today her last defense lines was broken by the success of Swiss surprise Evelyne Tschopp who passed Heylen by her golden performance. Read more
Bilal Fofana (SEN)