Great judo news in Belgium last week. The ‘Bear from Brecht’, as bronze Olympian Dirk Van Tichelt is nicknamed in his home country, made his comeback on the tatami after being months out due to surgery. Right now, his presence on the mat is only for training sessions, but still a good prospect for Dirk Van Tichelt since his severe knee injury sustained earlier this year at the training camp in Mittersill, Austria.
Van Tichelt back on the tatami together with Matthias Casse and youngsters Karel Foubert and Dries Ponnet as well as coach Mark van der Ham and Physiotherapist Tom Verhoeven

"As soon as I was given the green light from the medical staff, I was already on the tatami the next day," confirms an enthusiastic Van Tichelt. “For the time being only uchi-komis, I don't think that's the most fun, but something is always better than nothing. Nevertheless, a whole series of uchi-komis one after the other, that requires some effort. Due to the long rehabilitation, my body is no longer used to that anymore, so work is hard. In the evening after that first practice I was exhausted but satisfied. It felt great and that’s the most important right now.”

In a previous interview, Dirk already indicated that he wanted to speed up his rehabilitation in order to force a competition comeback at the IJF World Championships in Japan at the end of August.

Dirk Van Tichelt working hard to get back in competition

“The World Championships in Tokyo are still my goal. I am still on track and I hope to resume my preparations in the coming weeks and months. If I can continue my current progress I will be on the tatami in Tokyo.”

The next few weeks Dirk will intensify his training gradually. “The intensity of my training sessions will increase from July onwards and then I will go even harder. Obviously, I still like it and my hunger to qualify for Tokyo 2020 hasn’t lessened”, says a passionate Van Tichelt.

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