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Matthias Casse remains undefeated at U81kg this year

Matthias Casse remains undefeated at U81kg this year

2 Mar 2024 16:00
IJF Media team by Vimal Sankar Thiruthiyil Neduvenchery and JudoInside
Ekaterina Polejaeva / International Judo Federation

Another victory for Belgium’s World number one Matthias Casse. After the grand slam in Paris, Casse has done it again in Tashkent in his division u81kg. Casse and Shamil Borchashvili (AUT) began the final in a balanced fashion, with both prepared to go all the way. Casse was attacking while the Austrian was looking to pounce on the first mistake from the world number one but that did not happen as Borchashvili succumbed to the immense pressure from the sensational Belgian. It was a lengthy match as expected, with the match going into golden score. Six minutes and 31 seconds later, Casse sealed the deal.

Mykhailo Svidrak (UKR) took the bronze medal and continues to develop. Against Omar Rajabli (AZE) he earned that fairytale medal. Svidrak surprised the Azerbaijani by surprise at times, with Svidrak getting a waza-ari. He did not have to do much after that as Rajabli also accumulated penalties.

Olympic Champion and fifth seed Takanori Nagase was playing the waiting game against Zhubanazar (KAZ) in the second bronze medal match. The Kazakh judoka did not want to go for an ippon and kept making errors, trying to outclass the Japanese. In the end, the resilience and experience of Nagase won him his second bronze medal in Tashkent.

As expected, Casse reached the final of the men’s -81 kg category. Khasan Khalmurzaev (AIN) was unable to handle the pressure from the top seed and committed three errors after the fight went into golden score. Khalmurzaev, an Olympic gold medallist from Rio 2016, has been inactive on the circuit for a while and was not seeded in Tashkent. However, the manner of the loss was what surprised the fans. Nurbek Murtozoev (UZB) was their hope but he was also not able to keep up with Casse and bowed out after being dominated. Casse then earned a waza-ari win against Mykhailo Svidrak (UKR) in the quarter-final.

Having strategised his way past one Olympic champion, Casse had even more work to do against the reigning Olympic champion from the Tokyo Games in 2021, Takanori Nagase (JPN). Impressively, Casse did the job well, Nagase accumulating penalties in favour of the Belgian’s win.

Second seed Shamil Borchashvili (AUT) began the day with an ippon win over Victor Sterpu (MDA). An osae-komi in golden score brought the Austrian another ippon, against Khikmatillokh Turaev (UZB) in the round of 16. Seventh seed Sagi Muki, a world champion himself in recent years, tried his best to stop Borchashvili in the quarter-final but was disappointed to receive three shido warnings.

Nagase was pitted against Bolor-Ochir Gereltuya (MGL) first and it was an osae-komi win needed to take past the Mongolian. He then started with a waza-ari against Muso Sobirov (UZB), who had been warned twice already by that point. With time left on the clock, Sobirov received a third shido, making it easier for the Japanese judoka. A golden score ippon against fourth seed Vedat Albayrak (TUR) followed before he lost to Casse in the semi-finals.

Casse is now undefeated this year for ten contests. 

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