Gold medal in the judo Grand Slam in Antalya
After Toma Nikiforov (-100 kg) in Tashkent, then Sami Chouchi (-81 kg) in Tbilisi, it was Jorre Verstraeten's turn to climb onto the top step of the podium in the -60 kg category at the prestigious Antalya tournament.
The successful series continues in 2021 for Belgian judokas, as our delegation has managed to bring home a gold medal at the end of every Grand Slam tournament. After Toma Nikiforov in Tashkent, then Sami Chouchi in Tbilisi, it was Jorre Verstraeten's turn to excel on the tatamis in Antalya (Turkey).
Ranked 20th in the world in the under 60 kg category, the 23-year-old Leuven resident had already won a bronze medal in Minsk in 2019 and at the European Championships in Prague in 2020. But he had never received this kind of accolade during a major tournament on the international stage.
To reach the final, the Belgian had to successively defeat Mtiri of Tunisia, Huseynov of Azerbaijan, Takabatake of Brazil then Yang of Taiwan in the semi-finals. His last fight was against the Frenchman Walide Khyar, and he managed to achieve an ippon after one minute and three seconds of combat. As he had already thrown his opponent to the ground for the first time a few seconds earlier, Jorre Verstraeten could raise his arms to the sky.
This win means that the Belgian judoka has qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games!