"I had to review everything from scratch," admitted Teddy Riner, who returned to victory at the Doha Masters on Wednesday for his return to the international tatami mats almost a year after his loss at the Paris tournament, his first since over nine years.
"It feels good to feel better (...) I see the benefits of everything I have put in place", underlines the double Olympic champion who is aiming in Tokyo for an unprecedented treble in the premier heavyweight category .
Q: You said you wanted to "set the record straight", do you consider that this is done?
A: "I set the record straight, yes. It was a collection of information for me, a point-taking too (for the Olympic ranking), it is important to look for some even if I'm already qualified (virtually). I wanted to know where I was because it's been a while since I last fought on the international stage. It feels good to come back like this, to feel better, to see that things that have been put in place are working, and that there are still many things that can make a difference. It is a good omen for the future, but we must not miss the goal. stay focused on my main goal this season: the Tokyo Olympics. "
Q: How much value do you place on this victory?
R: "I give it a great value, because I had to renew myself, reinvent myself, I had to review everything from scratch, the technique, pure judo, the way of training, of warming up, physical preparation, nutrition ... It will serve me to get this gold medal in Tokyo. And I want to thank all the people who helped me to move up the ranks. "
Q: Did you feel the effects of your physical transformation during your battles?
A: "Of course. That's why I say I'm happy, I see what has changed, I see the benefits of everything I have put in place. We will continue in this direction."
Q: This competition was also an opportunity, quite rare in these times of pandemic, to measure yourself against world-class opposition ...
A: "Today, I + take + the European champion (Bashaev), the European vice-champion (Tasoev), and all the others also beat the best, so I'm very happy to have been able to m 'express. I'm very happy with my day, very happy with the work put in place, and I am ready to fight again. "
Q: Did you feel any particular pressure after your loss in Paris almost a year ago?
A: "On each event, there is always a little bit of pressure, that's normal. The pressure, it was as usual. It was good pressure, pressure to do well, which transcends, because I want to succeed, want to know if everything I do on a daily basis is working. Today, it worked, I'm happy. I'm in a process, I keep my goal in view, and I hope that in the end it will go well. "
Q: Is there any kind of relief to have returned to victory?
A: "There is bound to be a little relief, since when you work like a degenerate, you want to see the results, you want to see what the things put in place bring in, the changes that it can bring. that doesn't mean I'm going to slack off! "
Interview in the mixed zone by Elodie SOINARD
© 2021 AFP