The latest Judo News offered by

Dennis van der Geest: The Judo Day Of My Life

31 May 2020 09:30

 Andy Wheeler and JudoInside    David Finch /

On a blistering day in Cairo in September 2005, Dutch Heavyweight Dennis van der Geest, became Openweight World Champion, beating Tamerlan Tmenov of Russia in the Final. The year before, he had taken Bronze at the Athens Olympics.

In an impressive career, Dennis went on to win Two European Championships, racking up 10 continental championship medals overall,  as well as countless World Cup/Continental Open victories.

With so many epic contests to choose from, Judoinside caught up with Dennis to ask him,

“If you could live one day from your competitive judo life again, exactly as it happened, with no changes.

Which day would you choose and why?”

Dennis van der Geest replies……. ‘Judo aficionados could be forgiven for expecting me to choose the obvious one, that day in Cairo when I won the world title in 2005.

I have mixed feeling about that day, although it was my greatest achievement, my brother sustained an injury at that tournament, so for me the occasion was soured.

So I’d like you take take me back for one day, in fact for the whole weekend, to Maribor Slovenia, for the 2002 European Championships.

Looking back, that event was very special for me, not only because I won the Openweight category, but my brother Elco took Gold at -100kg, with our father coaching.

It was an incredible family moment. This memory has everything.

The tournament was fantastic, I opened my account in the Openwight division,  with early victories over Aythami Ruano of Spain and Denis Braidotti of Italy, both massive guys.

 In the semi-final I beat Hungary’s György Kosztolánczy, progressing to the final to face Alexander Mikhailin of Russia.

This final was a repeat of the previous years competition where I was beaten into silver. Elco too had medaled the year before in Paris winning his last match for Bronze.

This time I was not denied the Gold medal, in a memorable final,  I scored with a devastating Ippon. If you can, check it out, it’s worth seeing.

Two days after my Openweight victory, Elco defeated Martin Pader of Estonia in the final of the mens -100kg category, cementing a great double celebration for our family. Later the same day I took Bronze in the +100kg category.

For us, post tournament was a party atmosphere and we celebrated our success. I shared a room with Bryan van Dijk who is a tremendous prankster.

Maribor being a winter ski resort, we made use of a cable car and visited the top of the mountain. It was a beautiful sunny day, to this day it stands  as a great family memory.

You see the memory of myself and Elco, standing atop the podium at a major championship, with our coach and father looking on, is more valuable to me than my world championship victory in Cairo

Winning a big title with your brother is very, very special.

Fast forward a year later and myself and Elco both lost in the final in Düsseldorf, but hey, that’s judo.

For me judo is more than a sport, I have many great memories, not all of them on the tatami.

Fundraising with GoGetFunding

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Dennis van der Geest (NED) - European Championships Maribor (2002, SLO) - © David Finch,
  • Cor van der Geest (NED), Elco van der Geest (BEL) - European Championships Maribor (2002, SLO) - © David Finch,
  • Dennis van der Geest (NED), Cor van der Geest (NED), Elco van der Geest (BEL) - European Championships Maribor (2002, SLO) - © David Finch,

Related Judo Videos

Related Judo News


Former World Champion Dennis van der Geest happy about return of OpenWeight category

8 Nov 2017 09:05

Five-time world medallist and 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Dennis van der Geest won the 2005 Openweight World Championships. Now a prominent television presenter in the Netherlands and a sought after DJ, the Dutchman is one member of the IJF's roster of announcers. "I was very happy to hear that the Openweight Worlds is coming back," said van der Geest. Read more


Report of the European Championships 2001 in Paris Day 3

20 May 2001 19:50

The final day of competition at the 2001 European Judo Championships took place in front of a disappointing crowd. The French seem to come out in force for the Tournoi de Paris and the chance to watch their heroes take on the very best from Japan, Korea and Cuba, but run-of-the-mill European competition doesn't capture their imagination in quite the same manner. And that despite four reigning Olympic champions fighting yesterday and another today in the form of Husein Ozkan, not to mention their own World champion Larbi Benboudaoud. Read more

20080815_Day7_action_Zambotti_Vanessa_Bryant Karina

Report of the European Championships 2000 in Wroclaw Day 1

20 May 2000 18:55

At the end of a gruelling contest the buzzer sounded; Karina Bryant wheeled around to the photographers and punched the air; she was European champion again. Bryant's gold topped off an outstanding championship for the women's team who plundered another three silvers to finish second behind the French women. But for the odd contentious referee's decision they could even have swaggered home with four golds. Read more


Switching judokas increase in the road to Tokyo2020

20 Feb 2018 16:40

Switching nations seems are still a trend, as judo is overwhelmed with judoka who switch nation, either to get a chance, either to get better financial circumstances. Although switches all from all times, but this Olympic cycle it's a method. With the latest three Mongolian athletes a new wave of many has started with the Tokyo 2020 Games ahead more will follow Read more

Judo birthday

Result City Date
2Düsseldorf21 Feb
Result City Date
1Düsseldorf21 Feb


First description Second description Third description Four description