Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mark Huizinga wins veteran's tournament

(Via IJF)

Much of the attention on Day 2 of the Veteran's World Championships was around Dutch great and Sydney 2000 Olympic champion Mark HUIZINGA who returned to the tatami to great fanfare having retired after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

-90kg final: Udoka IKEME MBLEDOGU (ESP) v Mark HUIZINGA (NED) in white 

“I had no plans of competing in judo ever again,” said the 42-year-old. ”But as this championship happens to be in my home country, I thought about it for a few weeks. I like to make randori occasionally. I thought it would nice to do this again in a real win-or-lose setting.

“It has been seven years since I retired. In the past three years I did only a few judo trainings per year. In the last three months I tried to do one judo training every week, but I did not succeed.

“It is nice that these championships are now fully adopted by the IJF. Judo is a sport for all ages, it is good that the national and international federation acknowledges that. It is a great platform to bring together the judokas that have true passion for competing in the sport. It shows that the sport is important at so many levels. For young children to learn to use their body, how to cope with others and learning about structure and respect. Of course the high level competition ranging from national level to Olympic Games. But also judo life after one's prime, enjoying the sport in dojos around the world.”

The five-time European champion won all five of his contests and was relieved to have won gold in his homeland.

“I’m relieved more than anything, I felt I had to win and especially as I was fighting at home. The format of three minute contests was not so easy, if you make a mistake you do not have a lot of time to recover. I found this setting more stressful, very different from a regular championships, as the judoka started immediately attacking and with power.

“Every opponent was more difficult than I expected, there was no straightforward matches,” said HUIZINGA who had fought at the venue many times in his glittering career at national championships.

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