Teddy Riner’s winning return to Doha

“I want to get on the mat and catch the guys”, had launched Teddy Riner in an interview published on January 12 by The team, on the eve of his entry into the judo Masters in Doha (Qatar). Hungry and sharp, the two-time Olympic champion, who made his return to the international tatami mats for the first time since February 2020, confirmed his thirst for victory and marked his territory by winning a gold medal in this competition which brings together the best athletes of the world in each category. An ideal return to school more than six months before the Olympic Games in Tokyo, land of judo, where he will seek a third consecutive coronation.

Defeated twice in 2020, Teddy Riner wanted “Go get the best” and gauge themselves. He was served. He started his day well by extricating himself from a tricky first round against the bronze medalist of the 2019 Worlds, the Dutchman Roy Meyer. He continued his path without pitfalls by dismissing the young Georgian Zaalishvili and the Russian European champion Bashaev, on ippon.

Not as twirling in the semifinals as in the final, won on a penalty against another Russian, Ilan Tasoev, Teddy Riner has never however never been worried by his various opponents. Powerful, “Very strong on the sleeve” though “Sluggish in his attacks” in the words of his trainer, Franck Chambily, at the microphone of The L’Equipe channel, the Frenchman has a good margin over his opponents and areas of progress before the great challenge that awaits him on Japanese soil.

His victory gives him valuable points on the world circuit, after dropping to 27th place. Enough to consider a comfortable seeded status in Tokyo and save yourself the potentially dangerous first laps.

“I feel like I’m getting younger”

This Doha Masters launches the operation to reconquer the double Olympic champion and ten-time world champion, heckled as rarely last year. On February 9, 2020, the one we thought was unbeatable, with 154 consecutive victories, fell in the third round of the Paris Grand Slam against the Japanese Kokoro Kageura.

This earthquake in the world of judo was followed by a response in October at the French team championships, with a second defeat against Normand Joseph Terhec.

Unaccustomed to the scent of defeat, the French champion has absorbed it in order to better hate it. “You have to prepare well for competitions, which I knew how to do before but that I had perhaps forgotten, admits the Guadeloupe. Nothing happens by chance. Now, better that this call to order took place in 2020. “

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