VIDEO. Why Teddy Riner's victory in Tajikistan is important for his journey to the Paris 2024 Olympics ?

VIDEO. Why Teddy Riner's victory in Tajikistan is important for his journey to the Paris 2024 Olympics ?

Riner est en forme à moins de trois mois des Jeux. MAXPPP – Laurent Lairys

Teddy Riner, 35, won the Grand Slam in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) on Sunday May 5, beating Tajik Temur Rakhimov in the final, less than three months before the Paris Olympic Games.

Seed No.2 in the tournament, Riner had a lot to do in the final against local hero Temur Rakhimov, world No.2 and seeded No.1, who benefited from the noisy support of the public. Dominant, he won by ippon, as in his three previous fights of the day.

Riner was back on the tatamis five weeks after his victory in Turkey where, despite his success, he had expressed a certain weariness. The 35-year-old Guadeloupean, who is aiming for a fabulous Olympic hat-trick among heavyweights in Paris, said "tired" and "without desire".

In Tajikistan, he in any case did not let the debates drag on, starting his day by easily dismissing the Turk Munir Ertug, 32nd in the world, who surrendered after 1& ;rsquo;27 combat. In the quarter-final, the German Losseni Kone barely held on longer, but ended up giving in after 2 minutes.

Last tournament before the Games

In the semi-final, he faced the Russian Denis Batchaev, 19, who on paper did not represent any particular danger for the double Olympic champion of +100 kg. But the 129th in the world created a surprise by dominating the Finnish Martti Puumalainen by ippon in the round of 16, the latest winner of the Masters and reigning European champion.

Riner finally beat him by ippon by accelerating after 2’ of combat. This tournament in Tajikistan could be Riner's last before the Paris Olympics in less than three months, unless he finally decides to participate in the World Championships in Abu Dhabi at the end of May.

He thus won his third Grand Slam of the year 2024 in as many outings, after his victories in Paris in February and Antalya at the end of March.

Riner closes in on the top seed

Thanks to this new victory, he has collected 1,000 points, which should allow him to make a jump in the Olympic ranking and can thus hope to set foot on the tatamis of the Arena Champ- de-Mars as the top seed. This precious status normally allows you to avoid a preliminary round and to have a clearer picture during the first fights.

Undefeated since his defeat against Russian Tamerlan Bashaev in the quarter-final of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Riner has since won the Grand Slams in Budapest in 2022, Paris in 2023 and 2024, and therefore Antalya and Dushanbe. Without forgetting the world title, the eleventh of his career, won in Doha a year ago. Enough to approach Paris with full confidence.

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