Anthonius Johannes (Anton) Geesink (1934-2010) gained worldwide fame when he was the first non-Japanese to win the World Judo Championship in the heaviest class 60 years ago. Many victories and prizes followed, including the world title twice, the European championship twenty-one times and a gold medal during the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. The Royal Dutch Mint therefore mints an official commemorative coin commissioned by the Ministry of Finance: the Anton Geesink Fiver.
The traces of Anton Geesink
Anton Geesink has also left his mark on the judo sport outside the judo mat. He took several initiatives to make the complicated rules of judo more understandable. For example, the scoring has been simplified. Geesink also devised the contrasting colors of the opponents. Where both judokas used to wear white during competitions, now one of the two is wearing a blue suit. This makes the judo matches a lot easier to follow by the referee and the public. After winning his Olympic title, Geesink opened his own gym in Utrecht, where he taught himself. The street in which the school is located has since been called the Anton Geesinkstraat. In the Utrecht District C, where Geesink was born, the judoka has been immortalized as a statue. And now the Utrechter is honored with its own commemorative coin!
The Anton Geesink Fiver was designed by artist Malin Persson. Judo is inextricably linked with Japan and this was a great source of inspiration for Persson. King Willem-Alexander is depicted on the obverse, with a beard. His head is wreathed by the symbol of the Kodokan, the first judo school founded in 1882 in Tokyo. On the reverse, Anton Geesink can be seen during his victory at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. With a concentrated look he holds his opponent in a headlock. The circles symbolize the twenty seconds in which the hold must be held in order to win the judo competition. In addition, the circles represent a rising sun. Japan is also known as the "Land of the Rising Sun".
Over the years, the Netherlands has produced many sports legends. In recent years, sports icons Jaap Eden (2019) and Fanny Blankers-Koen (2018) have already been honored with a commemorative coin. This year it is the turn of the world famous judoka Anton Geesink. The Anton Geesink Fiver is minted on behalf of the Ministry of Finance.
Anton Geesink was the first non-Japanese to win the World Judo Championship in the heaviest class in 1961. The judoka has won many prizes for his performances on the mat, but has also meant a lot for the judo sport outside of it. For example, he came up with the contrasting colors of the opponents: one now wears a white suit and the other blue. This makes the judo competitions a lot easier to follow by the referee and the public.