PARIS (Reuters) – France’s triple Olympic gold medallist Teddy Riner won an eighth Paris Grand Slam title on Sunday after defeating South Korean Kim Minjong by o-uchi-gari in the men’s +100kg final, six months ahead of the Paris 2024 Games.
Riner, a record 11-times individual world champion, had struggled during his semi-final against Uzbek world number three Alisher Yusupov and almost lost by ippon before the decision was overruled. Riner then ended up winning the fight by ippon.
Nine months after his last individual competition at the World Championships at Doha in May, the victory is a positive sign for the 34-year-old French star, heading into the Paris Games.
“I am not in the best shape ever, but I am in shape. There are six months left, it gives time to prepare, work on the technique, the shape and of course the judo,” Riner told reporters.
“Having the Olympics at home is what motivates me. It is magical and it brings a lot of emotion. It is also going to be a lot of pressure but, I think in the life of an athlete, it is something you want to do. And I fight for this, to achieve something big,” he added.
The Frenchman, who is currently ranked 13th in the world, is looking to break into the top eight in order to be seeded at the Paris Games.
Riner will hoping to improve on his individual performance at the Tokyo Games where he could only secure the bronze, after winning gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and at London 2012.
(Reporting by Zhifan Liu; Editing by Toby Davis)
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