Sarah-Léonie Cysique was aiming for gold and was more than ever in her final when the improbable happened. Opposed to the Kosovar Nora Gjakova this Monday noon, the French judokate had to suddenly say goodbye to her dreams of the title because the referee considered that she had put herself in danger.
“When I was hot, I got it across my throat a bit (…) I find that a bit unfair. The referees have their own vision and you can’t interfere too much. Looking at the day, obviously it’s good. But it is not the medal that I wanted, declared Cysique at the microphone of France Televisions.
It is certainly a beautiful silver medal for the native of Sarcelles (Val-d’Oise) who was playing at 23 her first Olympics. But how can we not dwell on this Hansoku-make? There was a minute and eighteen seconds left before the Golden Score when the Frenchwoman fell headfirst onto the tatami as her rival hugged her from behind. The shock with the ground is violent. The Frenchwoman holds the back of her neck before getting up. We would then have thought that the final would resume once we had made sure of Cysique’s health. In fact, after consulting the video, the referee decides to end the fight.
“Without ambiguity”, confirms Lecanu
Frédéric Lecanu, judo consultant for Eurosport and technical manager within the French Federation, understands the frustration of the competitor of less than 57 kg. “But it is unambiguous,” he says. The international rules are indeed very clear: a fighter is declared loser directly by Hansoku-make if he uses the head to avoid the fall or to avoid a mark. The idea of this radical rule? Avoid “the slightest trauma” and “movement dangerous to the head, neck or spine”.
“If you take support on your head without your hands on the ground and without control, it’s Hansuko-make,” abounds the former judoka Frédéric Lecanu. In judo, the objective is to project oneself to bring down the opponent. You use the weight of your body to embark the opponent and put commitment. So the faster you go to the ground, the more dangerous you are. Only, it happens that we make the bridge on the head, that is to say that the head touches the ground all alone, without the shoulder or the hands. It is very dangerous because you can break your neck and receive the body of the opponent in addition in your fall. You can end up disabled ”.
At first glance, Sarah-Léonie Cysique’s opponent may seem as responsible as the Frenchwoman. Only, the spirit of judo and its law impose to respect the health of the practitioners at all costs. “It is the Kosovar defending which brings Sara to rest on the head in spite of herself, recognizes Frédéric Lecanu. She finds herself trapped in this state of affairs. But the referee is obliged to make this decision to preserve the integrity of the fighters. He does not take this sanction because Sarah-Léonie is cheating but to avoid the temptation to go through the head ”.