Home Sports Teddy Riner, the Napoleon of French sport who steals the covers of newspapers from Leo Messi and Kylian Mbappé

Teddy Riner, the Napoleon of French sport who steals the covers of newspapers from Leo Messi and Kylian Mbappé

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Teddy Riner, the Napoleon of French sport who steals the covers of newspapers from Leo Messi and Kylian Mbappé

There are athletes destined to make history, to dominate their sports and to win more than anyone else in their disciplines. Teddy Riner He’s one of them. The Frenchman, the best judoka of all time, has just written another golden chapter in his impressive career by winning the Doha his 11th world title in the over 100 kilos category. He did it with a triumph of Russian waza-ari Inal Tasoevand that he participated under a neutral flag in the tournament that marked the return to competition for him, his compatriots and Belarusians, previously marginalized by the invasion of Ukraine.

At 34 and making her first appearance in an ecumenical competition since 2017, great ger -a nickname that responds to his large size, 2.04 meters and around 130 kilos- defied the passage of time by once again climbing to the top step of a podium, 16 years after winning his first crown, to launch a warning to its rivals just over a year since Paris Olympics.

“It’s been a while since I’ve heard the Marseillaise on the World Cup podium and it’s a pleasure. And when people cheer your name it’s a wonderful feeling,” said Riner, who in addition to his impressive world record, has three Olympic gold medals (individual in London 2012 AND Rio 2016 and from the teams in Tokyo 2020) and two bronzes (in the individual test in the Japanese capital and in Beijing 2008). He was the cover boy in French sports media this weekend to the detriment of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé, who by hook or by crook tend to hog the covers

The Frenchman – who for his sporting successes holds the rank of Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honor of his country – arrived in Doha without being a favorite, despite the double podium at the Tokyo Olympics and the numerous victories , which also includes five European championships and 18 titles in the world’s top competitions International Judo Federation (IJF). It’s that for different reasons he had lost the last four World Cups.

After hanging gold in Marrakech 2017, he took a “gap year, no major races, just maintenance training” and was absent Baku 2018 AND Tokyo 2019. She chose not to compete in either Budapest 2021, to focus on getting to the Japanese Games in the best possible way, which had been postponed due to the pandemic. And last year he suffered a serious ankle injury in August which ruled him out of the tournament which was held in October in Tashkent.

He didn’t start as the top seed in Doha, but he proved to be a living legend of his sport. The Romanian Vladut Simionescuthe Polish Kacper Szczurowskithe mongol Odkhuügiin Tsetsentsengelthe Japanese Tatsuru Saitothe Tajik Temur Rakhimov -25 years old and world number one in the category, whom he defeated in the semifinals in just 30 seconds- and Tasoev tried to stop him. No one could. They have all succumbed to his power.

In a post she shared on Instagram shortly after her triumph, she reflected: “I’ve missed this emotion. Another proof that perseverance and hard work always end up granting your wishes. (…) The story it doesn’t end, we continue to surpass ourselves a little more every day, with humility and respect”.

A life on the tatami

Riner was born in 1989 on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, French territory, when his parents were there on vacation; but she has lived all her life in Paris. A sports lover, he practiced and excelled in all the disciplines that came his way: tennis, swimming, soccer, basketball … Until the age of five, hand in hand with his older brother Moseshe reached for judo, which took him right away.

“I loved the spirit of this sport. In judo you look for ippon (winning throw) and I like it because it’s difficult, it’s not an easy sport. You’re looking for a good technique, a good ippon,” he said in a 2017 interview with the chain Cnn.

“I love wrestling and in the other sports I’ve tried it’s frustrated me not having control over what’s going to happen,” he added, who trained at the judo club at the psglearning from Olympic champions like David Douillet AND djamel bouras and the world champion Frederic Demontfaucon.

"I love the spirit of judo," said Riner, pictured in white, in the

“I love the spirit of judo,” said Riner, pictured in white, at the final bout in Doha. AP Photo/Hussein Sayed

The most important lesson, however, was taught by his brother, when he was beaten in the final of a club tournament. “I entered the final thinking that I would beat him, that nothing was happening,” recalled the one who defeated Moise in training and got on the tatami too relaxed.

“Five seconds, just five seconds. My brother attacked very quickly and lost this fight,” he said. “I underestimated him during this final. I have never underestimated another opponent since that fight, never again.”

An undefeated for almost ten years

Already as a pro, Riner reached the top very quickly. In 2007 he won his first world title in Rio de Janeiro at just 18, becoming the youngest ever world champion. Today, with eleven ecumenical crowns, three Olympic and five European golds, he is the most successful judoka of all time, in any category.

He also owns an impressive 154 game hitting streak. After the fall in the final of the Tokyo 2010 World Cup (he lost the gold medal on September 13 with the Japanese daiki kamikawa), remained undefeated for nearly ten years, until he was beaten in the third round of the Grand Slam in Paris in early February 2020 by another Japanese rival, Kokoro Kageura.

Riner is one of the beloved sportsmen in France.  After winning his gold he found time to pose with his fans.  Photo KARIM JAAFAR / AFP

Riner is one of the beloved sportsmen in France. After winning his gold he found time to pose with his fans. Photo KARIM JAAFAR / AFP

Football and PSG lover – he assures it Ronaldinho was and is his only idol and inspiration in Japanese sports and manga, he has transcended judo and is one of the best known and most loved athletes in France. His popularity is not only due to his sporting successes, but also to his way of being outside of competitions.

“Aggressive on the mat, but a gentleman off,” is his catchphrase.

“Just because I practice a martial art doesn’t mean I’m not a kind man in my life,” explained who is also known as “Teddy bear”for his positive personality and friendly character.

And he added: “Judo is a sport with a moral code and it will help you a lot in your life. In this sport it takes courage, even in life. I think modesty is a very important value, especially for successful people. it’s being able to tell your story without forgetting where you come from, knowing your strengths but also your weaknesses”.

Source: Clarin

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