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“It’s an important competition” for the Blues before Paris 2024, according to Sarah Ourahmoune, head of the delegation

Like every post-Olympic year, the Mediterranean Games punctuate the start of summer. In Oran (Algeria), from Saturday June 25 to Tuesday July 5, some 3,400 athletes from 26 countries will compete for medals in the 24 disciplines on the program. With a delegation of 309 athletes, France presents the fourth contingent, behind Italy (371), Algeria (324) and Turkey (324).

Sarah Ouhramoune, Olympic vice-champion in boxing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and member of the executive office of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee, has been appointed project manager for this 19th edition. Before taking off for Algeria, she confided in franceinfo: sport on the challenges of competition for the France group, two years from the Paris Olympics.

franceinfo: sport: What do these Mediterranean Games represent for the athletes?

Sarah Ourahmoune: It is an important competition for them. This event allows them to test themselves against the competition, even if for some, between now and Paris 2024, there will still be deadlines. After that, there will be the European Games (June 21-July 2, 2023, in Krakow, Poland).

What are the ambitions of the French delegation?

France has always participated in the Mediterranean Games, and it has often been in the top 3 in the medal standings. The particularity is that there are no selection criteria and minimums for athletes: it is at the discretion of coaches and national technical directors. We want to give a chance to athletes who, sometimes, are number 2, and who therefore do not necessarily participate in competitions.

We prepare the next generation and we try to afford the best chance of medals. So there are a lot of young people. They may not be in Paris in 2024, it will be early, but life and sporting competitions do not stop afterwards.

These Mediterranean Games are also an opportunity to discover disciplines that we are not used to seeing…

Yes, there are sports that receive little media coverage and which are not regularly present in competitions, such as boules sports (petanque, boule lyonnaise and raffa) or karate. It’s the opportunity for the competitors to cross the best practices of other athletes, there are few meetings like this. We can exchange and support athletes from other sports.

On a personal level, how do you see this status as project manager for the Mediterranean Games?

With great pleasure, I am in a hurry to be there! I discover the extent of my mission. As an athlete, I did not ask myself the question. I realize that there are organizational meetings. There is also the responsibility of the team, the athletes, the smooth running of the events and the coordination. Without forgetting the role of representation with the press and embassies.

It is necessary to organize the trips, the transport because there is equipment and the flights to Oran are infrequent. On site, there will be the village, the evenings planned, a France club too, at image of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but smaller.

As a former boxer, what do you think of the 11 French people involved in the discipline?

There is a big team with five women and six men. This is a novelty, as it is the first time that the competition is open to women. There too, we are tending towards parity and that is good news, I would have loved to participate! We have n°1 present but also younger ones. We will see them evolve, observe how they remain efficient and grow in power. Because in boxing, you have to be able to cash in every day.

The Mediterranean Games are broadcast on the site and the application france.tv.

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