Matthias Casse, the first Belgian judoka world champion
By winning the gold medal at the 2021 World Judo Championships in Budapest, in the under 81kg category, Matthias Casse has become a legend in the sport and in Belgian judo.
Winning by ippon (the highest score a fighter can achieve in a Japanese martial arts competition) during the Golden Score against Georgian Tato Grigalashvili, the Antwerp fighter became the first male Belgian judoka in history to become world champion in his category.
At 24 years old, our compatriot already has a brilliant record, with victory at the 2019 European games in Minsk, the 2019 World Masters in Qingdao, and the 2017 Junior World Championships in Zagreb. But until now, none of the Belgian male judokas who reached the final stage in this competition - Robert Van de Walle in 1979 and 1981, Johan Laats in 1991, Cédric Taymans in 2001 and Toma Nikiforov in 2017 - had made it to the top step of the podium.
Feeling very proud after his historic title, perfectionist Matthias Casse is already focusing on Tokyo, "And now I'm aiming for Olympic gold; I know I'm capable of beating everyone."