Matthias Casse, world number 1
The 22-year-old judoka has won the gold medal at the Grand Slam in Paris. It had been ten years since a Belgian last won at this Grand Slam.
The Antwerp native put on an impressive show for the spectators at the Grand Slam in Paris. In fact, he eliminated his opponents one after the other: the Russian Azizov, the Mongolian Otgonbaatar, the Frenchman Djalo, the Moldovan Gotonoaga and the Portuguese Egutidze. He earned his spot in the final against Sharofiddin Boltaboev from Uzbekistan - whom he also defeated.
This victory has taken him up to first place in the rankings of the International Judo Federation (IJF) in the -81 kg category. 15 points separate the Belgian number 1 (7,504 points) and the Israeli Sagi Muki (7,489 points). The latter had in fact beaten him at the World Judo Championships in Tokyo in 2019. Matthias Casse won the silver medal there.
The judoka had already made a name for himself in various competitions in 2019. He had actually already won two gold medals: at the European Games in Minsk and the Masters in China. He also picked up a bronze at the Grand Slam in Düsseldorf and Baku.
We will have the chance to support Matthias Casse once again this year, at the Grand Prix in Rabat and the European Games in Prague. The young judoka will also be returning to Tokyo for the Olympic Games, where he is aiming to win another gold medal.