French Teams Shine in March Ahead of Paris 2024 Olympics: Kitesurfing, Table Tennis, and Badminton Champions Multiplying Performances

Photos Getty images and AFP for Alexis Lebrun / Montage Le HuffPost In kitesurfing with Lauriane Nolot, in table tennis with Alexis Lebrun or in badminton with Christo Popov, the French teams multiplied the performances of choice in March, four months before the Olympics .

Photos Getty images and AFP for Alexis Lebrun / Montage Le HuffPost

In kitesurfing with Lauriane Nolot, in table tennis with Alexis Lebrun or in badminton with Christo Popov, the French teams multiplied their top performances in March, four months before the Olympics.

PARIS 2024 OLYMPICS – Less than four months before the start of the Olympic Games, there are those who are struggling, like Kévin Mayer, tirelessly bothered by health concerns, or Kylian Mbappé, who risks being deprived of the event for non-sporting reasons. But while the French team wants to be in the top 5 of the medal rankings during “ ses » At the Olympic Games, other champions are having a successful start to the year, which bodes well for Paris-2024.

Thus, as with the Blues of rugby sevens or a historic French water polo team a few weeks earlier, several French athletes usually little in the spotlight shone during the month of March, bagging titles and achieving successes. exceptional performance.

· A first world title in 49er

Winning a world gold medal four months before the Olympic Games, moreover in a sport where France had never won a title, is necessarily a good omen. When in addition the blue team is ahead of the Dutch three times crowned at the Worlds, that says even more about the performance.

In this case, it was the two thirty-somethings Erwan Fischer and Clément Péquin who shone like this at the beginning of March, offering the French team its very first title in a 49er, a dinghy-type sailboat maneuvered by a pair, during the Lanzarote World Cup. If we add to this performance second place obtained in the summer of 2023 during the test event of Marseille (a dress rehearsal for the Olympic event), the French duo could not have dreamed of a better dynamic before the Olympics.

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Especially since by obtaining this world title before the decision of the selection committee in charge of choosing the crew which will represent France at the Olympics, the two men put their rivals Lucas Rual and Émile Amoros, who made up the blue pair, at a distance victorious at the European Championships last year.

· French kitesurfers dominate Europe

Another Olympic sailing event, but same blue sky above the French team. In kitefoil, a form of kitesurfing which will make its appearance at the Olympics in the form of a speed race, the French flew over the European Championships held the penultimate weekend of March in the south-east of Spain.

Among the women, it was obviously the queen of discipline who won. Already 2023 world champion, victorious in the World Cup the same year and winner of the test event from Marseille, Lauriane Nolot, 25, was crowned. And if she is a huge favorite for the only Olympic qualification, other contenders are at the top level: Jessie Kampman and Poema Newland accompanied their compatriot on the box for a 100% podium in Los Alcázares.

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Among the boys, no hat-trick, but a magnificent coronation for Axel Mazella, with a CV practically as impressive as his colleague since he also won the test event last summer and finished in bronze at the Worlds, which allows him to appear at the top of the world rankings. Here again, the French team is ready to face any eventuality thanks to the great outings of Maxime Nocher, currently 3rd kitesurfer in the world.

· Unprecedented for French badminton

It’s not just in sailing that the fight for the Olympic title rages. And on the badminton side, it is perhaps even worse since, among the men, it is two brothers who are vying for the ticket to Paris. Namely Toma Junior Popov and his little brother Christo.

It is the latter which particularly shone in this month of March. While the two men, who will in all likelihood be lined up together in doubles at the Olympics, must shine individually to be selected for the event, he first won his first title on the world circuit during the Open d ‘Germany.

And two weeks later, he made his mark by reaching the semi-final of the All England, the most prestigious tournament behind the Worlds and the Olympics. A first for a French player (Hongyan Pi reached the women’s final in 2007). And if he lost to the world number 5 after winning the first set, he still earned valuable points in the race for Olympic qualification and ahead now quite largely his brother.

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· The « ping » always led by the Lebrun brothers

And since we’re talking about siblings, how can we not mention the Lebrun brothers? Essential in the historic performance of the Blues, reaching the final of the World Team Championships at the end of February, Alexis and Félix shone again in March. Like Christo Popov, the second city, only 17 years old, reached the semi-finals of the Grand Smash in Singapore, which is one of the toughest tournaments on the calendar.

He was also beaten at this stage of the competition, but he took the opportunity to rise to fifth place in the world, thus ahead of the third youngest player to reach this high. Above all, since he is now ahead of four Chinese players, but there will only be two representatives from each nation at the Olympics, he seems in a position to secure the number 3 seed in Paris, synonymous with the table more clear.

On the other hand, once again, the young man lost in the final of the French championships against his elder Alexis, 20 years old and 22nd player in the world. A performance which pushed the big brother, now three-time national title holder, to celebrate in a very demonstrative way, as you can see below. But proof that there is nothing other than a healthy rivalry behind it all, the two brothers crushed the competition in doubles and triumphed together. Another good omen for the Games.

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2024-03-31 05:29:15
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