When the boss is absent, someone else takes over. In the absence of Clarisse Agbegnenou, five-time world champion and Olympic champion who became a mother in June, the French judo team could count on the young Romane Dicko, new world champion.
And, in the overall assessment, again on her female talents – so a gold medal and three bronze thanks to Amandine Buchard, Manon Deketer and Julia Tolofua – as the men have not won any medals, without the presence of the other heavyweight of French judo, Teddy Riner.
At the age of 23, Dicko, revelation of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where she took the bronze medal, won the only tricolor individual gold medal at the World Championships in Tashkent on Thursday 12 October. Already a three-time European champion in the queen category of +78 kg, Dicko pushed for her first participation in world championships. In the final, she dominated Brazil’s Beatriz Souza, world bronze medalist in 2021 and surprising winner of Japan’s Wakaba Tomita in the semi-final, in a handful of seconds.
Julia Tolofua in bronze
Her compatriot Julia Tolofua managed to take a beautiful bronze medal and dominated the Israeli Raz Hershko, but still the world’s number 1 in the penalty game.
To reach the final, Dicko defeated the Chinese Su Xin all day in succession, despite trailing from the start before immobilizing her opponent, then the Dutch Marti Kamps, junior world champion in 2021, and finally, in the semi-final, Tolofua, with a very impressive size.
The two French women, who appreciate each other and train together, decided at the end of a very controversial fight to go on penalties – “shido” -, three for Tolofua against two for Dicko. This special confrontation gave way to strong images. Like when their coach, Séverine Vandenhende, took turns encouraging the two athletes in the entrance hall and then, in a desire for neutrality, left them to explain themselves on the mat. Or when the two French women didn’t leave each other after the fight, the winner worried about the loser’s form: “Juju needs to stretch, she has cramps”said Romane Dicko to the Blue’s staff.
In a highly competitive weight category, like many women’s categories in France, Dicko’s win is significant as there will only be one qualifier per category during the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Despite his status and his Olympic medal, Romane Dicko explained it perfectly to Agence France-Presse before the competition: “In each category there are two or three girls. It’s important, every time, in every competition, to come out on top, to be the best, to show that we’re the strongest.she warned, pbecause in the Olympics there will only be one place. Even if we have two or three girls in the top 8, only one will go. »
‘I don’t take my qualification for Paris 2024 for granted’
Proving the correctness of her analysis, her compatriot Julia Tolofua presented herself well on her way to a place in the final. And the fight was hooked, knowing that the latter — niece and nephew of professional rugby players — had fought one more fight than her younger sister, protected by her seeded status.
” There is real Franco-French competitionanalyzed Romane Dicko, I don’t take my qualification for Paris 2024 for granted at all. I often get the question: “If you won a medal at the Tokyo Games, will you go to the Paris Games?” Well, I do not know. You really have to go there year after year, season after season, championship after championship. »
In Tokyo, in July 2021, the nephew of former triple jump world record holder Teddy Tamgho had impressed observers by responding to her first Olympics at just 21 (she was born on September 30). Fighting on the same day as the absolute idol of the major categories, Teddy Riner, she had gone to pick up a medal of the same metal as her oldest, bronze.
Braids blue white red, in tears after her success against the Turkish Kayra Sayit, she had confided her emotion: “When people say bravo to me, I cry. » A resident of Teddy Riner’s club PSG, she had been close to the star during her Olympic day. “Teddy told me we shared this medal, that he too had finished with a bronze medal at his first Gamesshe said. We followed each other all day. I was there when he lost in the quarters. He was there when I lost in the semi-final. The story is beautiful. »
Former France’s youngest champion at age 17, four years after her judo debut, suffered from shoulder injuries for a time. With this world title, she promises to become one of the big favorites for the Olympic title in Paris. In Japan she had warned: I have this medal, I can check it off. And in three years I will tick off the others. »
While waiting for Paris, she will have another chance to add another title to her list on Thursday. Olympic champion in mixed teams, she will once again bring her talent to the French team, which will try to win the world title against the great Japanese favorite, which has crushed the competition since the beginning of the competition. The Blues may need Romane Dicko.