Belgian judoka Roxane Taeymans (29) retires from her sport. The 2013 European U23 champion and multiple Belgian champion says to cherish every moment in top sports but didn’t nail the main medals in judo, a career without regrets though.
Taeymans: “It has been almost 15 years since I fought my first international competition, but I decided to leave high-level judo behind and take a different path in life. It has been a beautiful journey with many ups and downs. I had the privilege of getting to know many people around the world, some of whom became really good friends. It proves that no matter how tough your tatami camp may be, you can create alliances out there that are incomparable to any medal.”
After her European U23 title Taymans took gold at the Pan American Open in Santiago in 2015 and the European Open in Minsk that same year. She took Belgian titles in all age categories and won the European Cup in perhaps her best year 2013. She competed successfully at events all around the world and won medals in most continents from Santiago until Perth. She fought in U70kg for 14 years after her switch from U63kg in 2007 at the age of 16.
In 2013 she was Europe's number one in the EJU U23 ranking. Her highest rank in the IJF senior ranking was 19 in 2018. She fought some of the finest athletes on the globe such as world and Olympic medallists Gevrise Emane, Sally Conway, Laura Vargas-Koch and fought lots of battles with Barbara Matic.
The past years were accompanied by many injuries. “It felt like I already started my camp before I got on the tatami. I fought tooth and nail and I did not achieve everything I really wanted, but in the end that is another life lesson, ”the judoka said. "I can still look back happily and without regrets on my journey."
Taeymans thanked family and friends and the ones who facilitate the judoka like her club and Judo Vlaanderen. “You have taught me so many wise lessons, I am so grateful for that. I will never forget it. I have learned so much on this journey, so many lessons and memories without realising it. I will cherish them all forever.”