Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue will compete for their first group match in mixed doubles badminton on Saturday July 24 from 2 a.m., the day after the opening ceremony.
When Thom Gicquel signed to the club of Red Star Mulhouse a few years ago, to join his Alsatian friend Arnaud Merkle, another hope of French badminton, the player from Brittany (he grew up near Rennes) was very far from the world elite. But with his partner Delphine Delrue, they have had a dazzling profession for two years which has led them to Tokyo, where they will play the mixed doubles.
This duo was formed at INSEP, when Thom Gicquel was in terminal class and their complicity quickly came to light. “We look alike in the field, we are fighters and we are aggressive, relates the member of Red Star Mulhouse. In the style of play, we love the speed and playing the attack. So, mentally and tactically, it stuck well “.
However, two years ago, the pair is far from world peaks, so much so that the French Badminton Federation had placed the duo in the group of qualifying teams for Tokyo, when the Olympic qualification process was launched in May 2019.
They are 10th in the world now
But for two years, their rise is meteoric. Delphine Delrue and Thom Gicquel are now 10th in the world in mixed doubles. A success that this big fan of the Arsenal football club also attributes to his limitless passion for badminton.
“Badminton is really my whole life, says Thom Gicquel. When I’m not on bad ground, I think about bad ground. I am super happy when I am on the field, I love every training. I love my sport, it’s great. “
French badminton has never won an Olympic medal
Even if they areoutsiders with the domination of Asian teams, Delphine Delrue and Thom Gicquel dream of a feat in Tokyo. “I want to learn, but even though I’m young, I mostly want to win, the 21-year-old advises. We beat everyone, apart from the first two in the world, so anything is possible. We dream of a medal “.
It would be a first for French badminton, which has never won an Olympic medal.