An amazing turn of events as champion Teddy Riner was defeated last weekend during the Paris tournament, by the Japanese Kokoro Kageura. A shocking defeat, since it had been nearly 10 years and 155 fights that the tenfold world champion had not been defeated.
A defeat that he took with serenity, as he explained:
‘It was a failure, but one has to bounce back, look for the why and the how and above all get back to work. I felt great about the judo, now I think I lacked a bit of explosiveness, a bit of aggressiveness. I missed something anyway.’
With the 2020 Summer Olympics only a few months away, the French judoka no longer feels unbeatable, and that's a good thing:
‘It's also a relief to me because for the last ten years I've been under tremendous pressure to win everything. Of course I love to win and I hate to lose, but this defeat is going to make me work harder. There's bound to be some questioning. This match was timely because that's what it's all about, finding out how to be even betterat winning these matches.’
Now it's up to Teddy Riner to work twice as hard to be ready for the world's biggest stage, at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.