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Belgian judoka chases thief, gets punched hours after his win in Rio

While chasing a thief, Dirk Van Tichelt gets punched in the face by an unknown male attacker on Copacabana Beach

Published: Updated:

A Belgian judoka was recently punched in the face after chasing a thief, hours after he won a bronze medal in the Rio Olympics.

Dirk Van Tichelt, 32, was celebrating his bronze medal win on Monday in the 73kg judo semifinal competition when his training partner’s phone was stolen.

While Van Tichelt was running after the thief, he was punched in the face by an unknown male attacker, said the Belgian Olympic Committee.

“The police were nearby so he made a formal complaint and then was seen by a doctor at the hospital as a precaution, although there was nothing serious,” Luc Rampaer, communications director for the committee, told AFP.

The Brazilian media initially claimed that a local call girl had thrown the punch, but Rampaer denied the claim to AFP.

“It’s false information. It was definitely a man who punched him; that’s what the police report says,” he said.

In a media event on Tuesday Van Tichelt looked proud and was smiling while sporting his medal despite the black eye.