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Belgian Ilse Heylen oldest ever World Cup winner in judo

12 Mar 2016 20:40

   IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation
20160122_Havana_1_HEYLEN, Ilse (BEL)1

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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Related Judo Photos

  • Ilse Heylen (BEL) - European Cup Malaga (2014, ESP) - © Paco Lozano, Judo y Otros
  • Ilse Heylen (BEL) - Olympic Games London (2012, GBR) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Ilse Heylen (BEL), Astride Gneto (FRA), Darya Skrypnik (BLR), Anja Stangar (SLO) - African Open Casablanca (2016, MAR) - © African Judo Union

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