Belgians take gold and silver at the Cancun Judo Grand-Prix
Sami Chouchi clinches gold in the -81kg category and Gabriella Willems silver in the -70kg category. These are the first medals received by our two judokas at such an international level.
At age 25, Sami Chouchi is experiencing the best season of his career. Already a European silver medallist in Tel Aviv, he took his career to another level by bringing home his 1st Grand-Prix. He won the gold medal finishing a flawless 5-fight winning streak. In the final, the Brussels native came face to face with Victor Penalber, a Brazilian who in the past had already been world champion in the category. But the Brussels native managed to get a golden score by an ippon.
As for Gabriella Willems, she clinched the first silver medal of her career. The 21-year-old Liège native, 3rd in the Junior World Championships last year, just entered her 1st season in the upper division. Finishing up a very successful run, she faced off with Austrian Michaela Polleres. The Belgian quickly took the lead by scoring a waza ari after a few seconds of combat, but despite that, she was caught off guard by a hold (uchi-mata) from her opponent. Although disappointed, Willems has had the best performance of her young career.