For his return to the international tatami mats almost a year after his defeat at the Paris tournament, his first for more than nine years, the French judoka returned to victory at the Doha Masters on Wednesday.
“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 at Tokyo for an unprecedented treble in the premier heavyweight category .
You said you wanted to “set the record straight”, do you consider that this is done?
Teddy Riner: I set the record straight, yes. It was a gathering of information for me, also a taking of points (for the Olympic classification), it is important to seek some even if I’m already qualified (virtually). I wanted to know where I was because it had been a while since I had 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 a lot of things that can make a difference. It’s a good omen for the future, but we must not miss the goal. I remain focused on my main goal for the season: the Tokyo Olympics.
»READ ALSO – Weight off 26 kilos, Teddy Riner is back at his best
How much value do you place on this victory?
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, of physical preparation , nutrition … It will serve me to get this gold medal in Tokyo. And I want to thank everyone who has helped me move up through the ranks.
Did you feel the effects of your physical transformation during your battles?
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.
“There is necessarily a little relief, since when you work like a degenerate, you want to see the results”
This competition was also an opportunity, quite rare in these times of pandemic, to measure yourself against a world-class opposition …
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 express myself. . I’m very happy with my day, very happy with the work put in place, and I am ready to fight again.
Did you feel any particular pressure after your defeat in Paris almost a year ago?
On each event, there is always a little bit of pressure, that’s normal. The pressure, it was business 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 am in a process, I keep my goal in view, and I hope that in the end it will go well.
Is there a form of relief to have returned to victory?
There is necessarily 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. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to slack off!