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Matthias Casse writes history for Belgium
10 Feb 2020 03:10
World Masters winner Matthias Casse ruled the -81kg category in Paris with a tactically astute showing against Tashkent Grand Prix winner Sharofiddin Boltaboev (UZB) in the final. The high-quality Belgian judoka had enough nous and power to contain the Uzbek who was penalised for the third and final time after one minute of golden score to receive hansoku-make.
World silver medallist Casse has now won IJF gold in consecutive events for the first time in his flourishing career and will be one of the favourites in Tokyo this summer while Boltaboev will be pleased to have opened his Grand Slam medal account in the French capital and to have bolstered his place within the world’s top-ranked judoka. Casse is the new number one of the World Ranking U81kg and the second Belgian after Dirk van Tichelt who led the ranking for some time in 2009 and 2014.
Casse is the tenth Belgian athlete who won the 'Tournoi de Paris' starting with Robert van de Walle in 1986 who witnessed Sunday's victory in Paris. Gella Vandecaveye won four times in Bercy, Ulla Werbrouck three titles and Elco van der Geest was the last Belgian winner in 2010. Casse closed a gap of 10 years and looks stronger than ever.
In the first semi-final Boltaboev reigned over former world silver medallist Fujiwara Sotaro (JPN) who picked up his third shido with 11 seconds remaining in their previously scoreless contest. In the second semi-final Casse threw world number 16 Anri Egutidze (POR) with te-waza for a waza-ari score and then secured the sankaku-gatame to wrap up a comprehensive win.
The first bronze medal was clinched by London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Antoine Valois-Fortier (CAN) after Egutidze was disqualified after two and a half minutes of golden score after dropping and picking up his third shido.
The second bronze medal was won by Fujiwara who sent world number 29 Kamoliddin Rasulov (UZB) over after three minutes of additional time with a neat ashi-waza move as he finally unlocked the defence of the durable Uzbek.
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Tomasz Drzewiecki (POL)