Sunny Van Dyck (25) definitely knew Saturday. With her screaming at the tatami after winning the final and her second European title, Olympic participation no longer escaped her notice. Competitor Kim Bowling (30) did not secure a spot on the podium at Altice Arena, partly due to an elbow injury.
“I’m going to Tokyo. I’m better than ever,” Van Dyck said over the phone from Lisbon the next day. “Of course I am biased, but even if I look very objectively, I will orient myself.”
It seems like a matter of logic. Van Dyck is the European Champion and performs better than her only competitor and thus qualifies for the Games. Van Dyck says if it were that simple.
Although the European Championships held last weekend was officially a title tournament, given the selection procedure, it was only a marginal note, a final measuring moment in a three-year period. From a Dutch perspective, it was mainly about the three duels fought. Directly, but not.
Heavy men over 100 kilograms
The big question that arises before every Olympiad: Which judoka succeeds in every weight class? The choice was still open to these European Championships in three weight divisions. Juul Franssen, Tornike Tsjakadoea, Frank de Wit, Noël van ‘t End and Michael Korrel have already secured a spot on the Olympic team for this.
In the 70-kilogram class she was still between Van Dyck and Bowling, and in the class up to 78 kg, Marhende Verkerk (35), Josie Steinhuis (28) in the race, Henk Groll (36) and Roy Meyer (29) were a coincidence.
The decision is in the hands of the selection committee, made up of the Judo Association’s chief sports director Tjaart Kloosterboer and Charles van Commenée, who are mainly active as an athletics coach. They are notified by various judo coaches and will release the final designation at the end of April. Kloosterboer and Van Commenée both have no experience with judoka.
This is immediately one of the criticisms of athletes. Additionally, there is a lack of clarity about standards among the judokas. According to the rules of the committee, medals are considered in the last three years, and the results are against other good players from the top and center in the world rankings. It is not known how much each scale weighs.
Van Dyck thinks it’s a struggle. “In other countries, they decide after a fight or on the basis of order. There is no final formula for success, otherwise every country will do the same. It shows how dangerous this process is.”
It did not appeal to the committee that the options in the previous three games were not favorable. Denis van der Geest (2008) and Elizabeth Willibords (2012) did not go further than the first round, and Fierkerk (2016) was at Steinhuis’s expense and finished seventh.
In the world rankings before the European Championships, Van Dyck and Bowling were at 5 and 3, Steenhees and Werkkirk at 8 and 15, and Groul and Mayer at 7 and 9. All six judo players before the European Championships declared that they were full of confidence. For placement of games.
How unclear the selection issue is, is evidenced by the controversy that Polling, in the past, performed well four times in the European Gold and Bronze World Cups, after finishing fourth in the NOS. The Italian judo player thinks she deserves the games more than European champion Van Dyck. It is a three-year qualification process. I won again this weekend over the runner-up in the last world championships. Van Dyck lost to it the last time. ”In addition, she pointed in her eyes to the moderate opponents of Van Dyck at the end of last week.
Not long after, Van Dyck won the final match over Frenchman Margo Pinot, a very strong opponent to vote in the semi-final battle. On the one hand, there are poll victories in the last two back-to-back fights with Van Dyck.
The discussion will not stop
In Lisbon, Gerolle and Steinhuis, who already had the best cards to win the European title this weekend, won their head-to-head battle with Mayer and Werkerk. According to Grool, the result was insignificant, because everyone could already see that he was better than competitor Mayer.
Kloosterboer and Van Commenée do not place much value on these matches, as one opponent is better suited to Judoa than the other. Van Dyck believes that this European championship is of great importance. “I have shown that I am in good shape and can stand the pressure. What you achieve three months before the Games is more important than any game more than two years ago.”
Despite the Van Dijke and Steenhuis titles and the Grol silver medal this weekend, the discussion will not stop. Although Virkerk seemed to succumb to losing her games, she showed tears in her eyes at NOS. “I always say you have to do it when you need to, and climax at the right time, but I just didn’t work out here.”
For the selection committee, it remains an ongoing process of evaluating performance. Compared to this case, the now infamous Olympic Matrix for skaters is a simple exercise to fill in the void.
If it’s up to Van Dijke, she’ll travel to the games with Polling. Although the rules of the International Olympic Committee do not allow this. “We are both among the top five Goddock athletes in the world. In fact, it is completely unjustified to allow only one of them to fight for the gold.”
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