For his first international tournament since the Tokyo Olympics, Teddy Riner qualified for the final of the Budapest Grand Slam.
It’s been almost a year since we last saw him on the mats in international competition! Since his individual bronze medal and team gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, Teddy Riner (33) had decided to rest his body and take his time before resuming competition. He participated in the French team championships with PSG, but he chose the Grand Slam in Budapest, Hungary, to make his big international comeback. Exempted from the first round in this +100kg category, the five-time Olympic medalist began his day with a fight against the Brazilian Joao Cesarino. And he won on ippon, 2’11 from the end. Then opposed to the Azerbaijani Ushangi Kokauri, vice-world champion 2018 (Riner was absent that year), the Frenchman won thanks to the penalties accumulated by his opponent for lack of fighting spirit. In the semi-final, he was opposed to the Georgian Gela Zaalishvili, fifth at the Worlds in 2021 in Budapest (Riner was also absent), and he beat him with two waza-ari, 2’36 from the end. In the final, from 5:00 p.m., Riner will face the 23-year-old Dutchman Jelle Snippe, against whom he will start as a strong favorite.
Goal 142-145 kilos
Teddy Riner takes this Budapest Grand Slam as a first step towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, where he dreams of regaining the gold medal in the individual. “The main thing for me is to prepare for Paris 2024, to be ready for D-Day. Everything that can happen before is not the most important thing. Today, it’s about training, having competition on training courses, setting up certain things and getting into competitions to be able to gauge yourself, evaluate yourself “he confided to The Team this Sunday. But the Guadeloupean now evokes the possibility of participating in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028. He will then be 39 years old. Wishing to do everything possible to make his immense career last as long as possible, the judoka no longer wishes to make too much of a difference in terms of his weight. If he weighs 150.6 kilos this weekend, he hopes to go down to “142-145” to feel good.