A trilogy around the world for Teddy Riner: for a month, from Brasilia to Perth, via Abu Dhabi, the heavyweight boss plays globetrotter. To get back in the race for the Olympic qualification, oil his judo and better identify his new opponents.
"To be well placed in the Olympic + ranking list, to look for information in relation to myself, on my current condition, and to take information on the opponents" to arrive "with a nice panoply to get" the gold Olympic for the third time in less than ten months in Tokyo, never seen in heavyweight: this is how Riner summarizes AFP what he expects from this series of tournaments.
First stop on Tuesday in the Brazilian capital.
- Hunting for points -
We would almost forget it, but before aiming for the Olympic Grail, we must begin by qualifying. For this, the simplest is to be one of the eighteen best judokas worldwide in each weight category, in this case for Riner, the one of +100 kg.
As he has not fought between November 2017 and July 2019, any two-time Olympic champion and ten times world champion he is, he is logically behind for the moment: with 700 points - the nest egg inherited from his victory at Grand Prix de Montréal, the second category of tournaments on the world circuit, in early July for his return to competition - he is ranked 36th. Outside the virtual qualifiers for the Olympics 2020, whose list will be stopped according to the world hierarchy on May 31st.
With the triptych Brasilia-Abu Dhabi (October 26) -Perth (November 4), the first goal of Riner is to make a rise to the top of the ranking. At best, his tour can earn him 2700 points (1000, 1000 and 700). For comparison, the current N.1 of this Olympic ranking, the Czech Lukas Krpalek, has about 4500.
- Find sensations -
In Montreal, back after twenty months without competition, Riner had known "a lot of hesitation".
"The fact that I have not been competing since a certain time means that I do not have a lot of automatisms, that I did not have my judo in dynamism," he explained.
Among the lines of work, his coach at Insep Franck Chambily had identified velocity, precision and "above all, he dares more".
To find his sensations on the carpets, it is the other site of Riner, from Brazil to Australia.
"Tokyo, it will be my fourth Olympics, but they have a special flavor because it's in Japan, where everything started for my sport," he says. my form, if not stronger, and it starts with qualifying tournaments like the ones that are emerging. "
"Today, I can not say that I'm 100. It will take time, recognizes Riner.I will allow me to take a maximum of information each time, to resume a little automation of competition. And to gain confidence in me to go to these Games. "
"It's good to do a sequence, it's part of the preparation," he says.
- Better apprehend his opponents -
"They did not wait for me, it's up to me to hang up the cars," Riner said in early July about his opponents.
In Quebec, where he has stretched to 148 his dizzying series of fights won consecutively, he who is undefeated for more than nine years (September 2010), it was measured for the first time in Krpalek, Olympic champion in title - 100 kg since assembled in heavy weight. It took him nearly six minutes to get through it.
The two fighters could end up in the semi-finals in Brasilia. Meanwhile, Krpalek was crowned world champion of +100 kg in early September, in the absence of Riner.
Before that, the French judoka will discover a new opponent as soon as he enters the running, Kokoro Kageura, current Japanese N.2 in heavyweight behind Hisayoshi Harasawa.
"It allows me to do some training, and to have as much information as possible that will allow me to evolve and progress, that's also important," Riner concludes.
© 2019 AFP