Brussels bomber’s brother could compete in Olympics

Mourad Laachraoui
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Mourad Laachraoui, whose older brother, Najim, was one of two suicide bombers in the March 22 Brussels airport attacks, won gold at the European Taekwondo Championships on Thursday and could be named to Belgium’s Olympic team.

Laachraoui took the European 54kg title in Switzerland.

His victory came in a non-Olympic weight class. A different Belgian previously qualified an Olympic spot for the nation in the 58kg division.

Laachraoui is one of three candidates for the one Belgian 58kg berth at the Rio Olympics, a Belgium Taekwondo Union official said Saturday.

The three candidates met a standard of being in the top 20 of the global Olympic 58kg ranking. Laachraoui was ranked No. 15, behind No. 6 Si Mohamed Ketbi and ahead of No. 18 Salaheddine Bensaleh, at the end of April.

A Belgian Olympic Committee official said Saturday that the representative for Rio has not been chosen.

“We will communicate the first selection in about one week from now,” the official said in a text message.

Ketbi, the reigning World 58kg silver medalist, missed the European Championships and has reportedly had trouble making weight, putting him in danger of not being named as Belgium’s Olympic representative at 58kg.

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