Udo Quellmalz new head coach in Belgium
The Flemish Judo Federation introduced 1996 Olympic Champion Udo Quellmalz as new head coach. At a press conference Quellmalz was presented as coach for this Olympic period. Last February the federation lost Mark van der Ham who became technical director for Azerbaijan.
Van der Ham was definitely the key successfactor for Matthias Casse who became World Champion at junior level under his guidance followed by world silver and last year the World title and Olympic bronze medal.
Technical director Koen Sleeckx is happy with the successor of Van der Ham.
The 55-year-old German took part in the Games 3 times as a judoka. In 1992 he took bronze in Barcelona, in Atalanta he won gold 4 years later in the category up to 65 kilograms. Udo "Quelle" Quellmalz also has an extensive collection of World Cup medals: two times gold, silver and bronze.
The new German top coach must guide Matthias Casse to an Olympic title: "I know how to deal with that pressure, you can't get that from a book."
Quellmalz has experience at the highest level as an athlete but also as a coach. He was a successful coach for the Great Britain and Austria teams and with Ludwig Paischer as coach, he experienced the Olympic final in 2008.
Matthias Casse is also happy with the choice for Quellmalz and the judoka were also involved in the choice of the new coach. “We were allowed to indicate what we were looking for and which aspects we found good and less good with the previous coach Mark van der Ham. It turned out not to be an obvious quest, but Udo was the best match of those criteria.”
In two months, Casse will defend his world title in the -81 kilogram category in Uzbekistan. “That's too short for Udo to make major changes. He will now mainly observe and see how I can get even better.” Casse recently lost his position as number one in the world to the Georgian Tato Grigalashvili, one of his most dangerous opponents in the coming years, but the Turk Cedat Albayrak is also a difficult opponent as is the relative newcomer Guilherme Schimidt from Brazil and let’s not forget Olympic Champion Takanori Nagase and Korean newcomer Kim Jonghoon as well as former world champion Saeid Mollaei. It’s a very competitive weight category.
Judo Vlaanderen certainly has Olympic potential with Toma Nikiforov in house and also Mina Libeer who is doing very well and is getting more and more grip on the international competitors. She also received the basics from Mark van der Ham, but is now entering a new phase for qualifying for Paris with a top 10 position in the world ranking in her sights.
Quellmalz: “At the end of the day it will be about results, I am aware of that. Then I'm not just talking about Matthias. But I am looking forward to working with him. It will not be easy for him, because everyone is chasing the world champion. I know that from my own experience. It is with that experience that I can help him. I know what that pressure feels like. You cannot get that knowledge from a book. I am optimistic about our cooperation. Matthias is very self-critical. I will not impose on him what he is obliged to do, it will always be in consultation.”