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Olympian Van Zyl picks up valuable ranking points in Germany
- Updated: March 6, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
London Olympics judoka Jacques van Zyl has grabbed some more Rio Olympics ranking points after competing in Germany late last month.
He took part in an international competition in Dusseldorf in a bid to boost his ranking in the -73kg category as the race to Rio hots up.
The West Rand (Gauteng) athlete ended up having two fights, winning his first and losing his second.
He got into the swing of things by watching the -60 and 66kg fighters compete on the Friday programme.
‘It was a very strong competition with all the top players in the world competing and I think there were only three players out of the top 20 in my weight category not present at this competition,’ Van Zyl told Road to Rio 2016.
Spanish fighter Kiyoshi Uematsu was his first opponent.
‘Kiyoshi is a very experienced fighter and has been to two Olympics Games and came third at World Championships in 2005. I knew this was going to be a hard fight, prepared accordingly and won the fight with a wazari decision.’
That saw him coming up against the world No2 Sagi Muki of Israel. ‘He’s a very strong fighter and unfortunately he had a better tactic going into our fight and beat me with ippon. He went on to come third.
‘But overall I was very happy with my performance although still very disappointed to lose. If you look at the draw it was a very difficult task from the start as my first fight was with the No35th ranked player in the world and 2
second fight with the World No2.’
After the competition, Van Zyl moved on to an extensive training camp which was really big and tough.
‘There were lots of judokas present, I would say more or less 150-200. We mostly did randori [freestyle practice and sparring], there were so many players that we had to fight in three different groups. 60-66, 73-81, 90+.
‘It was a great experience and I think it was a great success as I received 24 points after my fights and moved from No28 to No25 on the world ranking list, actually number 20 if you take out all the doubles from the same country.
‘Now I’m looking forward to my next competition and to keep climbing up that world ranking list,’ concluded Van Zyl.