Only two months before the Olympics, the World Championships which open on Sunday in Abu Dhabi serve as a final preparation for Clarisse Agbégnénou and the French team, in the absence of Teddy Riner who is missing out.

If Riner will not seek a twelfth world crown at the Mubadala Arena, Agbégnénou (-63 kg) can win a seventh. The 31-year-old judoka, determined to win back Olympic gold this summer, three years after Tokyo, will headline the Blues in the Emirates.

“Clarisse, she is clearly going there so that there are no other people with another bib in the (Olympic) competition, she wants to have the gold bib and the red bib,” explains Christophe Massina, head of the competition. French women’s team, to AFP.

The gold bib on a kimono designates the reigning Olympic champion. Red, the world champion. Agbégnénou intends to keep both. So, a year after her sixth world title in Doha, “she goes there without asking any questions, to win,” adds Massina.

She could have made the choice, like Teddy Riner (+100 kg) or even Romane Dicko (+78 kg), to no longer go out to fight. To now prefer training, so close to the deadline.

– “Land phase” –

But, already in 2021, the champion had decided to enter the pre-Olympic Worlds. World gold before Olympic gold.

After a major preparation course at the Reunion, Agbégnénou is “in a fairly solid phase of her preparation” for the Olympics and will therefore arrive in Abu Dhabi “certainly a little less sharp than she could have been before, but with on the other hand this determination, where we know it well on that”.

Like her, Amandine Buchard (-52 kg), Marie-Eve Gahie (-70 kg), Madeleine Malonga (-78 kg), and for men Luka Mkheidze (-60 kg), Walide Khyar (-66 kg), Joan -Benjamin Gaba (-73 kg), Alpha Diallo (-81 kg) and Maxime-Gaël Ngayap Hambou (-90 kg) will be engaged from May 19 to 24 in the Emirates before moving on to the Olympics.

For them, the goal is multiple, recalled Frédérique Jossinet, in charge of high level at the federation, on May 7 at Insep: we will have to “search for points” in the Olympic ranking, “search for performances, reference matches ” but also “collect elements” on his state of “physical, psychological and technical-tactical form”.

– “Very dense championship” –

As host country, France is lucky to have a representative in each category at the Olympics. This is not the case for other nations and, for some athletes, these Worlds will be crucial to qualify.

This will give “a very dense, very strong world championship, with challenges for all nations”, notes Jossinet.

The silver medalist at the Athens Olympics in 2004 also sees these Worlds as a final preparation for the Olympics: “If there is a title or a medal, it is better to approach the final straight, afterwards, even if there are poor performances but we learn lessons to perform well at the Games, I don’t see too much of a problem with it.”

From Sunday, France has a good chance of medals with Amandine Buchard (-52 kg) and Luka Mkheidze (-60 kg), both Olympic medalists, who are aiming for a first world title.

On Wednesday, the -78 kg category will have another highlight. Madeleine Malonga, chosen by the French team for the Games, will meet Audrey Tcheuméo, crowned European champion at the end of April for the fifth time despite her disappointment at not having been selected.

For the young Faïza Mokdar (-57 kg), Léa Fontaine (+78 kg) or Romain Valadier-Picard (-60 kg) and the others not selected for the Games, these Worlds are “precisely the opportunity to bring home a world medal , even a title”, underlines Massina.

Finally, the mixed team competition will close the proceedings next Friday. The objective: to beat the Japanese for the first time at the world championships, undefeated since the establishment of this event in 2017. With fond memories of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, when the Blues stole Olympic gold from the Japanese at home.


2024-05-19 08:52:19
#final #preparation #Agbégnénou #Blues


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