Rio 2016: Judo bronze medalist chases mobile phone thief on Copacabana Beach

The pursuit left him with a black eye

May Bulman
Wednesday 10 August 2016 12:41 BST
Van Tichelt was victim to an assault just hours after winning bronze in the 73-kg judo competition
Van Tichelt was victim to an assault just hours after winning bronze in the 73-kg judo competition (Associated Press)

A Belgian Olympic medal-winning judo star chased down a thief and was punched in the face on Copacabana Beach, just hours after his win.

Dirk Van Tichelt, who won a bronze medal in the 73kg judo competition, had been celebrating on the beach when the assault took place.

His training partner's phone was stolen and he ran after the thief before being punched in the face by someone else, according to the Belgian Olympic Committee.

Rio 2016: Yesterday's Highlights

Van Tichelt, 32, was reportedly taken to the hospital but did not require medical treatment.

The bronze medalist appeared at a media event the following day with a black eye - but he still had a smile on his face.

Brazilian media claimed the assault was committed by a local call girl, but the Belgian Olympic Committee said it was a male attacker.

Luc Rampaer, communications director for the committee, said: “It's false information. It was definitely a man who punched him; that's what the police report says."

There have been numerous injuries in the Rio Olympic Games so far, but this is the first known casualty to be reported outside the sporting events themselves.

Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten suffered facial injuries after crashing in the women's road race, while French gymnast Samir Ait Said badly broke his leg while on the vault, and was then dropped by paramedics as they loaded him into the ambulance.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in