Home judo Two judo champions in sharing mode in Saint-Maximin

Two judo champions in sharing mode in Saint-Maximin

by archysport

Sharing as an inheritance. Give without ever counting. Amandine Buchard has been skimming the tatami mats for 20 years now. From the Paris region to those around the world.

However, the 26-year-old judoka, Olympic vice-champion of -52kg in Tokyo and team gold medalist, does not forget a fundamental principle to always go further: transmission.

Saturday, the very recent third of the French team championships with PSG judo, was with Larbi Benboudaoud, silver medalist at the Sydney Games in 2000 and current national director of high performance for the French teams, in Saint-Maximin for the 20th Martial Arts Spring.

The ideal opportunity to devote the end of the morning (1) to the children of the club of 150 licensees chaired by Laurent Bouby and whose professor Mansour Diaf turns out to be a long-time friend of the boss of the Blues.

“With will and work, anything is possible. I hope that in the years to come you will come and steal my place”, she told them before signing a group of autographs.

In the meantime, Amandine Buchard remains humble but with unwavering determination.

From the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo to Cosec Leï Garrus in Saint-Maximin, what is the link?

We all share the same values. It gives me great pleasure to spend time with these young people and all the others as well. I was in their place and it is important to transmit and share. At their age, I saw champions who gave me dreams, like Larbi.

Four months after your golden score defeat in the Olympics final against the Japanese Uta Abe, has your disappointment faded?

Sure. With hindsight, we realize that there are only four places to get a medal. Several athletes train hard and covet this goal around the world. This is a chance to come away with such a result. Finally, a chance … Yes and no because it represents a lot of work. I know where I went, I had to make sacrifices and get up after very complicated times.

Does this silver medal push you to surpass yourself even more for Paris 2024?

Obviously, it has revitalized my career and I want a gold double in Paris. I will feel more liberated in my judo. I fulfilled a life and sporting goal: to be an Olympic medalist.

A rematch against Uta Abe would be ideal …

Yes, I would really like to meet her again in the final in Paris.

Are you aware of the journey accomplished since your depression after your non-selection in Rio in 2016?

Yes, that’s why this silver medal is worth gold. I had difficult times like the death of my dad who had pushed me to do judo or my depression after health problems due to a drastic diet. It deprived me of the Games in Brazil. But in the end, I didn’t give up.

Last June, you revealed your homosexuality in a documentary broadcast on Canal + (2). What repercussions have this announcement had?

Nothing at all. I am above all Amandine Buchard the judoka member of the France team. I spoke about it because we needed to change mentalities.

But we had to find the strength to talk about it publicly …

For sure. I thought more about the good and the help I could give rather than my personal case. And I do not regret it. I have received a lot of positive messages from athletes, parents … It is unfortunate that even today people stop sport because of discrimination or because they feel rejected. It gave me the strength to come to terms with myself.

What do you think of Chloé Devictor, junior world champion, and Anaïs Mosdier – two judokas from the Var – present in your category?

It’s not worse. I have never been afraid of competition. It forces me to work harder every day and get better. It allows me not to rest on my laurels because they could try to take my place in Paris. I know them well, I train with them on a daily basis. They have talent and they are hard workers. So I don’t underestimate anyone since I too have been in their situation. And I went to find my place.


1. Amandine Buchard and Larbi Benboudaoud also conducted a free afternoon training session for licensees in the region and participated in the gala in the evening.

2. In the documentary We need to talk, signed Arnaud Bonnin and Lyès Houhou, five other athletes testify and reveal their homosexuality.

Larbi Benboudaoud: “The Paca region has always provided us with a lot of high level athletes”

A regular here has reunited with his longtime friend. The direct Larbi Benboudaoud and the discreet Mansour Diaf attended the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (Insep) a few decades ago.

And, for 20 years, the recent national director of high performance for the French teams (appointed six months before the Tokyo Olympics) and the teacher from Saint-Maximin love to pass on their knowledge for the benefit of children during this Martial Arts Spring. Var.

An event that has become an essential place of passage for immense champions (Djamel Bouras, Clarisse Agbégnénou, Lucie Décosse, Darcel Yandzi, Benjamin Darbelet, Cyrille Maret, Walide Khyar, Annabelle Euranie, Larbi Benboudaoud, Audrey Tcheuméo …).

The opportunity also for Larbi Benboudaoud to give his opinion on French and regional judo. “On the territory, our network is exceptional, he confides. The Paca region has always provided us with a lot of top athletes. There are beautiful structures with the Nice and Marseille hubs but also real know-how. We try to provide the best support to the judokas so that they get the best of themselves when they come to Paris. “

What about the results of the Games? “It’s positive even if a few silver medals could turn into gold. We work every day to get athletes to the top of the box. I’m not here to give gifts to the Japanese. (In Tokyo, the Japanese team won five gold medals out of seven for men and four out of seven for women before losing in the team final against France, Editor’s note). Even if they don’t want to, I’ll go get them. “

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