Olympic Games 2024: Sarah Chaâri, the young Belgian who is shaking the world of taekwondo

“It’s difficult to combine the two, it requires a lot of organization to find time to study and to go and train,” explains Sarah Chaâri.

“For the moment I'm getting by and I hope it will continue to work in the future…”.

Dressed in a white kimono, the taekwondo player wears an Islamic veil, a religious sign that follows her even in competitions. “In Belgium it doesn’t pose a problem to anyone,” she explains.

Sarah Chaâri won her ticket to the Paris Olympic Games at the prestigious Manchester Grand Prix in December where she beat the Chinese Mengyu Zhang in two rounds in the final (6-4, 16-4).

A victory which comes in addition to several international titles in the under 62 kilo category. After winning the world championships in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2022, she also won a title at the European Games this year.

“She works hard”

The young Belgian athlete, 1.91 m tall, however, remains very cautious about the Olympics.

“Every taekwondo athlete trains to one day (…) qualify and win medals,” she says simply.

“There will be fifteen other girls at the Olympics who are just waiting for one thing, and that is to fight and give the best of themselves. Everyone has a chance to get on the podium and the level is extremely high,” adds his Argentinian coach, Leonardo Gambluch.

“She is motivated, she is very focused, she works hard,” he says. “She has always been like that. This is the recipe that will put her in the best position for the Games.”

Although Belgium has produced several world taekwondo talents in recent years, Sarah Chaâri will this time be the only representative of her nation at the Olympics.

Jaouad Achab, former world champion, who came 5th in Rio after being made the favorite, this time failed to get his ticket to Paris during the Olympic qualifying tournament, just like the two other Belgian hopes Badr Achab and Raheleh Asemani.

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