"With my guts": at 26, Clarisse Agbegnenou (-63 kg) became the first French judoka crowned four times world champion after a fierce fight of more than eleven minutes in the final on Wednesday in Tokyo. Ideal for one year of the Olympics 2020 in the Japanese capital.
Already crowned in 2014, 2017 and 2018, Agbegnenou now exceeds the tricolor trio composed of Lucie Décosse, Gévrise Emane and Brigitte Deydier, each titled three times.
"It's more than them when I saw them already incredibly high, I'm honored," she greets the microphone of the channel L'Equipe.
She joins the heavyweight David Douillet, also crowned four times between 1993 and 1997. Only the inevitable Teddy Riner (absent) caracole far ahead, with his ten titles of world champion conquered between 2007 and 2017.
"By starting judo, I would never have imagined that ... If I had been told: + Clarisse, you bet you'll win once, ok, but four times, I would have said + Do not go in your head? + ", smiles her voice, still trembling with emotion, who also has two world silver medals on her list (2013 and 2015).
- Launched to the OJ-2020 -
Beyond the historical significance for the French judo of this fourth star - which will now adorn her judogi - this new coronation ideally launches the Olympic vice champion 2016 and also four-time European champion to the 2020 Olympics - the only one title that resists him - next summer.
Since its defeat in the Olympic final three years ago, the world N.1 category has won all that matters or almost: world gold in 2017, 2018 and 2019, more European gold in 2018 and 2019. Only the one vintage 2017 escaped him because of a hip injury that occurred during the competition.
She is undefeated for twenty months: her last defeat dates back to mid-December 2017 (in the semifinals of the Masters), precisely against her ultimate victim of the day, the Japanese Miku Tashiro.
On the carpets of Nippon Budokan, the room located in the heart of Tokyo, which will host the Olympic judo events in eleven months, Agbegnenou first flew over the first part of the competition: she sent two of her first battles in less than fifteen seconds (against Schlesinger and Liao), and the third in just over a minute (against Awiti Alcaraz).
- "Not stolen" -
The final against Tashiro, N.3 world and already vice-champion of the outgoing world, on the other hand was an exhausting and unbreathable duel. Penalized twice, against one for his Japanese opponent, Agbegnenou finally dropped it after more than seven minutes - 7 min 11 seconds precisely - in the golden score, the extension after the four minutes of fighting, to win by wazari. What immediately tears her, like her rival, also at the end of herself, with whom they shared a hug.
"What emotion in this finale, what intensity, what courage, you knew how to (go) to look for it with a huge heart! (...) It feels good for # Tokyo2020," tweeted Riner.
"Dazzling Clarisse Agbegnenou (...) You are a wonderful ambassador for women's sport," said Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu.
"It was very, very hard, I really went with my guts at the end," says Agbegnenou.
"I managed to get it when it was hard, I know we're just waiting to chop my head in. But I do not give up even when it's hard, the fourth (star), I do not I did not steal it, "she continues.
"Seven minutes of golden score, I'll remember it all my life At the Games, I know what to expect, it's good to have a good preparation like that, especially mentally", is projected -she.
On the fourth day of competition, Agbegnenou offers the passage to the Blues their first medal of the week Tokyo. Side men, Alpha Djalo (-81 kg) fell to him since his second fight.
© 2019 AFP