Amandine Buchard, precocious and silver judoka

Nicknames do not always reflect the substance of an individual. When you are encouraged to the sound of “Didine” or “Bubuche” from the stands, it does not impress many people. But when we see Amandine Buchard’s determined 1.60 m – tattooed and profiled temple – entering the tatami, the feeling is already very different.

And the way the new Olympic vice-champion of – 52 kilos, Sunday July 25, treats – with the exception of the formidable Japanese Uta Abe – the vast majority of her opponents, reduced to the role of foil, we understand that we should not trust the little names of judokas. Especially when they have the talent and the rage to win of the Frenchwoman.

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Everything would compete on the bill for this Olympic final. Uta Abe and Amandine Buchard deserved to be there and they delivered a show which would have deserved the presence of the Tokyo public. In the absence of the enthusiasm of a large crowd, the discreet applause of the volunteers and a few Japanese soldiers – rare privileged spectators of the Budokan – coupled with the encouragement and advice of the comrades of the France team, including those of the hero of the day before Luka Mkheidze, punctuated this clash at the top.

Perhaps the outcome during the golden score (an ippon following an immobilization on the ground) finds an explanation in the liabilities between the two rivals. In six fights – now seven – Buchard had only beaten Abe once: in 2019, in Osaka. The second will still have to wait. The Japanese won her first Olympic title at home on the same day as her brother Hifumi in – 66 kilos. In tears, the Frenchwoman was very moved: “It was the longest twenty seconds of my life. Yes, it’s hard, because we see his dream fly away. I will bounce back, I always bounce back, she confided. I’m hot, I’ll savor this medal later. “

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“It was the dream final”

The Frenchwoman had no desire to bother with protocol for her first Olympic Games, even in the mythical enclosure of the Budokan, built not far from the imperial palace. She dispatched, boneless way, her first three fights, including her semi-final against the Swiss Fabienne Kocher in sixteen seconds. “It was the dream final. Abe is a great champion, whom I respect. The faster I finished my fights, the more energy I kept for this final, because I knew it was going to be very hard ”, she explained.

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