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Dutch team with Grol and Polling full of World medal potential

7 Aug 2017 17:50

   IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation

The Dutch team for the World Championships in Budapest includes a little surprise. Triple World Championships runner-up Henk Grol was not very sure how to proceed after the Olympic Games; most likely he would start +100kg. His last matchday was at 11 August 2016 when he couldn’t overcome Cyrille Maret. Now it appears that Grol will make his comeback in Budapest, fighting U100kg. This is for certain: Grol is not yet finished.

With next week’s World No. 1 Michael Korrel, Grol will be trying for another chance for World gold. The double Olympic bronze medallist and 6x European Championship finalist (three of them successful), has convinced his body to endure another period of suffering in a category that is full of fresh competitors at this year’s World Championships.

On the Dutch team will be another Olympian who hasn’t fought any matches since her Olympic defeat: Kim Polling. Until last year the World No. 1, she prepared both in Italy and in the Netherlands upon her return. Her knee and elbows are repaired and Polling will start in Budapest with a healthy body and fresh mind. Also, she will have some competition in her own country with Sanne van Dijke, the current European Champion, who will compete U70kg and has grown to the World No. 4 position. Both Polling and Grol aren’t seeded at all.

In the category U78kg the Netherlands has the best resume with World No. 1 Guusje Steenhuis as a rock solid medal candidate. Steenhuis will be accompanied by Marhinde Verkerk to give the Dutch another chance. Verkerk recently returned from an injury and celebrated her comeback in July with gold in Minsk. Steenhuis won the European Cup in July in Saarbrücken as a satisfying test. She also won the Grand Slam of Baku this year and European silver after a tough loss to French Audrey Tcheumeo.

Olympian Tessie Savelkouls (+78kg) and Margriet Bergstra (U57kg) complete the favourable Dutch women’s team. Absent from the team is 2015 World No. 5 Juul Franssen, who hasn't yet found a mutually satisfying agreement with the Dutch Judo Association. In her category U63kg Anicka van Emden retired.

On the men’s team Noël van ‘t End is back. He won bronze in Ekaterinburg in May and is preparing to win his first World Championships medal in his category U90kg. European bronze medallist Roy Meyer goes for his fourth World Championships appearance and, since becoming a father, Roy hasn't been yet been that convincing in the World Tour, but his bronze in Warsaw was the gift that he needed to free his mind. Roy is among 10 challengers for Teddy Riner. Download this free gift.

Sam van ‘t Westende was selected U73kg and Frank de Wit is a medal prospect U81kg. De Wit who picked up fifth places in Warsaw and Ekaterinburg is in general satisfied with his progress. In February he won the Grand Slam in Paris, which delivered him a seeded position in Budapest in this competitive weight class.

Marhinde Verkerk was the only medal winner in Astana at the World Championships in 2015; Van Emden was the only Olympic medallist in 2016. In 2014 Sanne Verhagen surprised with a World medal but the expectations are usually higher than the results. It is time for efficient results as next week World Ranking shake-ups take place when the points of the 2016 Olympic Games will be deducted.

With a few new foreign coaches like Michael Bazynski and Jean-Paul Bell, head coach Maarten Arens has completed his technical staff in time for the new Olympic cycle. 

Check the most succesful Dutch judoka at World Championships.

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Related Judo Photos

  • Guusje Steenhuis (NED), Jean-Paul Bell (GBR) - European Cup Saarbrucken (2017, GER) - © Klaus Müller, Watch:
  • Henk Grol (NED) - 2016 Olympic Games day 6 Judo U100kg & U78kg (2016, BRA) - © JudoHeroes
  • Kim Polling (NED) - 2016 Olympic Games day 5 Judo U90kg & U70kg (2016, BRA) - © JudoHeroes

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