Teddy Riner Returns Strong After Months Without Competition

No competition since May? No problem for Teddy Riner. The double Olympic individual champion won three fights in Belgrade on Saturday for his return to action in the Champions League. The men of his club PSG won bronze in this team competition, with the women winning gold for the first time.

“Even though I was lacking rhythm, I am very happy with my day,” Riner said at the end of the fights, still deploring a “frustrating” result for his team. “The job was to win these fights, to respond, to do the job of captain, that’s what I did,” added the Guadeloupean. “But it’s a shame because we really had a very, very, good team. We were really the team to beat, and we let ourselves be defeated.”

Riner had not taken part in any competition since his national team crown last May, which followed two weeks after winning an 11th world title in Doha. This tournament at the Stark Arena in Belgrade was also the last of the year for Riner, before launching the final stretch in view of the Olympic Games played at home: “Normally, I finish my preparation in January, and then we will start to think about the calendar, to see which competitions we are going to go to.

Each competition will allow me to progress, to be better

With three victories, against the Uzbek Alisher Yusupov, the Serbian Milos Vukicevic and the Georgian Shalva Gureshidze, the 34-year-old triple Olympic champion (two individual titles, one team title) is reassured. “I feel good, but I still have to work. Each competition will allow me to progress, to be better,” he said.

For his coach Franck Chambily, “the Olympic objective is to get some bearings, because he hasn’t done a lot of competition, to take some benchmarks and see where he is on his favorite techniques. See the physical condition, take stock of the situation before starting the home stretch from January.” As for his injury, “it’s in the past. All the lights are green, that’s why he’s here,” he told reporters before the fights.

Among the men, it was the judokas of OJK Belgrade, who defeated the Parisians in the semi-final, who won gold. The PSG girls, for their part, finished first in the competition. “We knew we could do it and this year we did it, so we had fun. It’s something important and it’s with our friends so it’s even more fun,” said declared Marie-Eve Gahié, European champion of -70kg and selected for the Games.

2023-12-09 20:00:42
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