The -81kg category final was highly anticipated, two athletes with completely different styles coming for a head to head to decide who would be crowned the world champion 2021.
Tato GRIGALASHVILI (GEO) the more dynamic performer, exciting to watch from the first exchange and usually scoring big, against 2019 World silver medallist, Matthias CASSE (BEL) a much more patient contender and sharp with his execution.
Casse, number one in the world ranking lost out in Tokyo to Sagi MUKI (ISR) making it a bitter sweet accomplishment but today he outmatched his opponents, technically and physically, taking four of his six contests comfortably in to golden score.
This was also the case for his final against Grigalashvili. Knowing that his opponent will go all out from the very first second, he managed his opponent, careful to not allow him to initiate any attacks which made him wary and forced him to pick up a shido.
Though the Georgian was dominating in the grips, he was simply unable to score against Casse. Running in to golden score it was clear who was winning the battle of conditioning, the Belgian had paced himself well and was ready for a mistake to be made.
-81kg Final. The final ippon.
Eventually he felt the right moment and executed utsuri goshi to score ippon, winning the gold medal and his first World title. Not only was this a first for Casse but a first world title for his country. He is an intelligent judoka, and can now return to Olympic preparation knowing he is at the top of his game with only an Olympic title missing from his collection.
Author: Thea Cowen