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Teddy Riner chooses Tajikistan

Five-time Olympic medalist Teddy Riner will compete this Sunday in the Grand Slam in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to continue his preparation for the Paris Olympic Games.

A month after his victory at the Grand Slam in Antalya, Turkey, Teddy Riner will head to Tajikistan at the end of the week to compete in the Grand Slam in Dushanbe, in the capital of this Central Asian country. The five-time Olympic champion is one of two French people present in the French men’s selection, with Walide Khyar, who competes in the -66kg category (Sarah-Léonie Cysique will be the only Frenchwoman, in -57kg).

“This Grand Slam in Dushanbe is not so badly placed (in the calendar), there are not too many competitions left. The following weekend, there will be the Kazakhstan Grand Slam then the Worlds. In the preparation, things were going well, Teddy felt good. Between Kazakhstan and Dushanbe, we took Dushanbe,” explains his coach Franck Chambily in the columns of The Team.

A thirtieth victory in a row for Riner?

In Tajikistan, Teddy Riner (who celebrated his 35th birthday at the beginning of the month) will aim for a thirtieth victory in a row, having not been beaten since his defeat in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Olympic Games in July 2021 against the Russian Tamerlan Bashaev. Even if he is no longer always as sovereign as in the past, like his final at the last World Championships against the Russian Inal Tasoev (who had been declared co-world champion following a refereeing error) or in the final in Antalya at the end of March against the Japanese Tatsuru Saito, Teddy Riner remains the master of the +100kg category.

However, as his appearances in competition are rare, the French judoka is only ninth in the Olympic ranking, 14 points from eighth place which would ensure him seeded status at the Olympic Games and therefore a less complicated table, on the paper. A victory on Sunday in the final of the tournament would bring him 1,000 points and could therefore move him up to second place, behind Tasoev. And what’s next? Even if the French Judo Federation keeps a place for him in the selection if he wishes, Teddy Riner is not certain of competing in the World Championships in Abu Dhabi on May 23, where 2000 points will be at stake. A decision will be made after the Grand Slam in Dushanbe.

Fr

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