Noël van ‘t End won gold in the category up to 90 kilograms at the Masters in Doha on Wednesday. The reigning world champion settled in the final with the Georgian Beka Gviniashvili. Guusje Steenhuis took bronze in the Qatari capital by beating her direct competitor Marhinde Verkerk.
After just under two minutes, Van ‘t End placed a waza-ari and in the final phase he pulled the match to himself with an arm clamp. In the first rounds, Van ‘t End had already dealt with Piotr Kuczera from Poland, Altanbagana Gantulga from Mongolia and the Russian Mikhail Igolnikov.
It is the first time that Van ‘t End takes gold at the Masters, where he only finished on the podium once before. De Houtenaar won bronze in the prestigious tournament in Morocco in 2015.
In August 2019, Van ‘t End wrote history by being the first Dutchman since 2009 to conquer the world title. At his last two performances – Grand Slam in Hungary and European Championship in Prague – he failed to finish on the podium.
Steenhuis takes bronze by beating competitor Verkerk
In the category up to 78 kilograms, Steenhuis won bronze by beating fellow countryman Verkerk after a golden score of almost five minutes on waza-ari. She did excellent business with a view to qualifying for the Olympic Games, because Steenhuis and Verkerk compete for the only Olympic ticket.
The Dutch judo association designated the Masters as one of the three measurement moments for the distribution of the Olympic tickets, making it important to perform well in Doha. The other two tournaments are the Grand Slam in Tel Aviv (February 19-21) and the European Championship in Lisbon (April 16-18).
The Netherlands can get even more medals on Wednesday, because with Simeon Catharina (<100 kilograms) and Henk Grol (+100 kilograms), two Dutchmen will compete for the bronze.
The World Masters started on Monday and will last until Wednesday. On the first two match days, the Netherlands took silver twice (Kim Polling and Frank de Wit) and bronze twice (Tornike Tsjakadoea and Sanne Vermeer).
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