The selection committee of the Dutch Judo Association has appointed Sanne van Dijke, Guusje Steenhuis and Henk Grol for the Olympic Games. The board will nominate the judoka at the Dutch Olympic Committee NOC * NSF for the participation in Tokyo. In all three weight classes U70kg, U78kg and +100 kg, there was a severe competition for which a selection committee had to make a judgment which judoka is attributed the greatest chance of a medal.
“In these weight classes we are dealing exclusively with world top players and therefore medal candidates”, explains Tjaart Kloosterboer as chairman of the selection committee. It may be even closer together in one weight class than in another, but it is the task of the selection committee to make a choice based on the results, knowledge and insight and input from the four Olympic coaches."
Both judoka have been in an Olympic qualification process since 2018. Due to the postponement of the Games, the process has now been running for three years, of which almost a whole year was not judged. Kloosterboer: In such a long process, there are many moments, results and other factors that become part of the decision-making and are carefully considered. The best thing is when a choice is made on the tatami and not from behind the table. In two weight classes, the U78kg and +100 kg class, a difference arose during the last measurement moments in 2021, which made this the case. Guusje Steenhuis is nominated for the U78kg weight category and Henk Grol will represent the Netherlands for the fourth time at the Olympic Games, in an attempt to win a third Olympic medal. Marhinde Verkerk and Roy Meyer were not selected. For the Olympic Games you can bet on sports events such as the Olympic Judo Tournament where Van Dijke will fight U70kg at the fifth day at 28 July.
The decision in the class up to 70 kg was more difficult. You can call it impossible,” continues Kloosterboer. I've been in a position to make choices before in my career, but this was the hardest. Of course, as a selection committee you are always assured of a good choice when talking about the number 3 and 4 in the world, but it obviously doesn't feel like that. It is unbelievably bitter for Kim that we cannot take her to Tokyo.
The committee's decision stems from performance at measurement moments and the knowledge and input of four Olympic coaches on all predetermined criteria. If we look at the results, there are no significant differences between the two ladies after the entire qualifying process. In the end - partly on the basis of input from coaches - we highlighted the last part of the process. That is slightly in favor of Sanne.”
Van Dijke reacted on her nomination: “Relieved, happy, recognized, a bit of everything. Seriously it was the longest day in my life, there was a huge tension as it was this close. Despite the trust I have that I have shown belonging to those games, it is always subjective what is your own opinion, it is always coloured. I tried to analyse it objectively and even then I am the best, but it’s always scary if it’s out of your hands. Now there is relieve.”
Kloosterboer closes this part of the selection process with mixed feelings. I am incredibly proud of all the athletes and coaches who have gone through this process. I would like to express my appreciation for the fighting spirit and perseverance that I have experienced, especially in the light of the corona pandemic. We should not underestimate that. It was an unprecedented luxury, but I also sympathize with those who are now losing weight. Those who have not been elected for the Games now are perfectly capable of winning a medal at the upcoming World Cup in June. That says everything about the level of the judokas and how close" it has been.
Juul Franssen (U63 kg), Tornike Tsjakadoea (U60 kg), Frank de Wit (U81 kg), Noël van 't End (U90 kg) and Michael Korrel (U100 kg) had already been appointed at an earlier stage to participate in the Tokyo Olympics. As it stands now, the selection will be expanded with Sanne Verhagen (U57 kg).We are convinced that Sanne will qualify for Tokyo - whether or not via the continental ranking,” said Kloosterboer. Tessie Savelkouls (+78 kg) also has the potential to win the Olympic Games. Savelkouls is in a long, intensive rehabilitation after a serious injury sustained in February 2020.
For the Olympic Games you can bet on sports events such as the Olympic Judo Tournament where Van Dijke will fight U70kg at the fifth day at 28 July.