between half-hearted girls and overwhelmed boys, France is disappointing

The silver medalist French team KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

A year after the formidable Olympic Games in Tokyo, the French team did not confirm in Tashkent with a single title won, for a total of five medals.

The competitions follow each other and are not necessarily alike. A year after their incredible victory against Japan in the final of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Judo Blues failed to repeat their feat Thursday at the Worlds. And the Japanese collective to win a fifth consecutive title, i.e. all those at stake since the creation of this mixed team competition in 2017.The Japanese rule the world. Even when they are in difficulty, they always manage to find the little thing that will make the difference“, noted Christophe Massina, the boss of the French women’s team, after the defeat of the Blues in the final (4-2). “So we will continue to work. We hooked them up anyway. Both among the girls and among the guys, we made them doubt. We show them that it will never be easy against us».

A defeat which therefore has nothing infamous, but which gives rise to a certain frustration in the French ranks. Like the half-hearted Worlds for the French team, which saved its balance sheet a little over the last two days, with Romane Dicko’s gold and Julia Tolofua’s bronze in +78 kg on Wednesday, in more of that collective silver on Thursday. But during the first six days, only Amandine Buchard in -52 kg and Manon Deketer in -63 kg had managed to win bronze medals. Before arriving in the capital of Uzbekistan, the Blues, especially the women’s team, had much higher ambitions. “We end with two good days but overall, we missed out on a lot of categories“, recognized the boss of the Blues, Larbi Benboudaoud. “So the results are not necessarily positive, especially with the weapons we had, we have to be honest. There are definitely things to review.»

Paradoxically, despite the four medals brought back by the female contingent, the trouble is almost greater among the girls than among the boys. Apart from Amandine Buchard who suffered the law of her great rival, the Japanese Uta Abe, in the semi-finals, and the Dicko-Tolofua tandem which unfortunately appears in the same category, none of the Blues has been at the desired level. In the team competition, Sarah Léonie-Cysique showed a nice reaction of pride, but which does not completely make us forget her failure in individual, just like those of Margaux Pinot, Marie-Eve Gahié and Madeleine Malonga. “I’m the first to say it’s not what we expected“, loose Benboudaoud about them. “But I’m not more worried than that, especially for the girls. They have the qualities, they got stuck there but they haven’t become bad. On the other hand, there is still something that screwed up and we are going to make sure that it does not happen again.»

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The slow reconstruction of men

Among the boys, who did not bring home any medals, the problem remains. The young guard represented by Romain Valadier-Picard, Kenny Liveze or even Joan-Benjamin Gaba did not shine in Tashkent, but the rejuvenation process must continue according to Stéphane Nomis, the president of the Federation. “We must send them to the coal all over the world so that they train more and better.” And the head of the men’s sector Christophe Gagliano to add in the columns of L’Equipe: “It’s only been a year since we set up this work and we are starting from a level that has dropped considerably for several years. It doesn’t come back like that because we work, it takes time.“To get back in the saddle before the ultimate meeting of the Olympic Games at home, the Habs will have the opportunity to defend their chances on the planetary stage again at the next World Championships in Doha in less than seven months. With no doubt the returns of Teddy Riner and Clarisse Agbégnénou, and lessons learned from this Uzbek week.


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