The French judo team won the silver medal in the mixed event on Sunday at the World Championships in Doha, again coming up against Japan after an incredible final which offered a scenario of madness, with come -backs, twists and emotional lifts.
This is the sixth time that the mixed team event has featured on the program of the Worlds, and the sixth time that Japan has won the title. Les Bleus won their fifth silver medal in this event.
Without their two gold medalists of the week, Clarisse Agbégnénou and Teddy Riner left to rest, the French matched the Japanese but lost 4-3 at the end of a “golden match”.
“The scenario at the end is catastrophic for us but for the public, it’s ideal”, recognized Christophe Massina, the boss of the women’s delegation. “Our sport allows us to experience crazy emotions, it’s incredible!”
First to appear on the tatami, Joan-Benjamin Gaba first shocked the public of the Qatari capital by sending Soichi Hashimoto, bronze medalist in -73 kg this week, to the mat in 21 seconds. Romane Dicko, filmed close-up in the stands with her hand over her mouth and wide-eyed, perfectly summed up the feeling of the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena.
“Hashimoto, I had already taken it twice and I lost twice. There I said to myself + This time I will not lose +”, explained Gaba.
In the second fight, Margaux Pinot then looked impressive beating new -70kg world champion Saki Niizoe to the Golden Score, but Japan came back to 2-1 after Goki Tajima’s win over Maxime-Gaël Ngayap Hambou (-90 kg) in overtime despite a committed match from the Frenchman.
Coralie Haymé, preferred to Dicko in +78 kg, then imposed herself on penalties after 6 min 20 sec of a bitter head-to-head fight against Maya Segawa. France then led 3-1, one point from the title.
The new Japanese sensation Tatsuru Saito (+100 kg) had to win to keep his team alive and the Nippon managed to crack Joseph Terhec on penalties, allowing Japan to come back to 3-2.
Make way for Sarah-Léonie Cysique, who could still offer victory to the Blues. After a whirlwind start against Haruka Fukanubo validated by a waza-ari in less than thirty seconds, the Olympic vice-champion of -57 kg was trapped and immobilized at the end of the fight by the vice-world champion.
“I lead waza and there I make a big mistake”, analyzed the Frenchwoman. “I got carried away and in the craze I wanted to engage on the ground, except that on the ground, she is better than me. I was simply had.”
In the event of a tie after six fights, the decisive match is then fixed by a draw and it is Margaux Pinot, who had already experienced this role at the Olympic Games, who had to go back on the carpet. The 2020 European champion again fought a tough fight for 4 min 30 sec but ended up bowing to penalties a few moments after believing he scored an ippon, canceled by the referee.
“I experienced an emotional lift. I told myself that I had brought the point and that we had won and in the end the referee reconsidered his decision and it started again for a round”, told Pinot.
The Blues have therefore still not beaten the Japanese in a world championship, even if they had dominated them at home in Tokyo during the Olympics two years ago.
“It’s infuriating for the French team, especially since we’ve been second against the Japanese several times. I hope it bodes well for the future. We’ll be able to move forward and see where it can take us. lead: towards the gold medal, I hope.”
The French therefore leave the Worlds with eight medals (2 in gold, 4 in silver and 2 in bronze).