Judo medallist in phone drama at Copacabana Beach

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.

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

The bronze medallist 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.