Renée Lucht: From Tbilisi to Paris – A Judoka’s Journey to the Olympics

She shares her favorite travel destination with many judokas. “Tokyo,” says Renée Lucht emphatically: “The culture and the food are really beautiful. The halls are super full and the judokas are real stars who are being used for advertising.” The 25-year-old from the Hamburg Gymnastics Association of 1816 travels far and wide. Turkey, Japan, Georgia, Kazakhstan… “Lately I haven’t been home for more than three weeks,” says Lucht: “In the long run, it’s a lot of traveling, but the group is great and it’s fun.” The ultimate goal is , like for many athletes this spring: Paris. The Olympic games. The Hamburg native already took a big step towards this in March when she won the Grand Slam in Tbilisi – and now she wants to take the next one.

Lucht is currently ranked 18th in the world rankings, which would be equivalent to a ticket. Her next competition takes her to Zagreb, where the European Championships will be held next week. On Saturday and Sunday Lucht will compete in the heavyweight division.

Judo gives you many values: respect, friendship, community,” is how she promotes her sport: “The sport is also so versatile. You don’t always do the same sequence of moves, every fight is different.”

Renée Lucht has a chance at the Olympic Games

Little things can make a difference. Like in Tbilisi, when Lucht was actually eliminated after her first fight. But after viewing the video images, the arbitral tribunal decided to disqualify her opponent because she had used her head as a lever and thus endangered herself. “We had already bowed and left the mat when my opponent was called back,” remembers Lucht, who then really turned up the heat, defeating Olympic champion Akira Sone (Japan) in the semifinals and eight in the final against junior world champion Carolie Hayme (France). Seconds before the end he successfully applied a Ko-Soto-Gake.

Lucht in the fight against the current world number three Hayun Kim at the 2021 World Cup in Budapest picture alliance / DPPI media | Yannick Verhoeven

Lucht in the fight against the current world number three Hayun Kim at the 2021 World Cup in Budapest

“I place my left foot behind her right and push it over my leg,” she explains of the technique, also known as the “small outside crescent.” “I made the best of the worst start, that’s really crazy,” says Lucht, looking back: “After my injury story, it was important to show what I can do.”

Two years ago, her cruciate ligament tore in Antalya. Two weeks later, the stitches were removed, then rehab began at the Berlin Olympic base, which she joined in 2018 after graduating from high school. After ten months she was finally able to fight again. “I knew that the rehab would be very strenuous,” says Lucht.

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The effort was worth it. On Tuesday, the special education student and sports soldier (“For me, the Bundeswehr is perfect, you’re covered”) gets on the plane that takes her to Zagreb. A European Championship medal is the goal, it would further secure the ticket to Paris. Her family will definitely be there in France’s capital on August 2nd; they have got tickets for the coveted competitions. Renée Lucht wants to make a big splash there. “Start at the Olympics,” is how she describes her dream: “And then have the best day of my life there.”

2024-04-22 06:41:54
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