“I am quite confident” for the 2024 Olympics, ures Ngapeth

Despite France’s defeat in the semi-final of Euro 2023, Earvin Ngapeth remains confident for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

I am quite confident, I am quite serene” for the Paris Olympics 2024explains in an interview withAFP Earvin Ngapeth at the end of Euro-2023 where France, 2021 Olympic champion, fell in the semi-finals against Italy.

Ngapeth evolved there “at 50%» of his possibilities after a long absence due to injury for which, according to him, his former club Modena “has a huge responsibility“.

QUESTION: This Euro was special for you after four months of forced injury break: you played it with the status of substitute before returning to your usual place during the semi-final against Italy, at what level of shape do you think you are?

ANSWER:I’m at 50%, I don’t have the speed I need, nor the strength, nor the explosiveness. Apart from the energy that you can put in when you come back, I also have a certain +weight+: you feel it when I come back, it causes questions among others, but I stopped for four months, other players have been injured. If the Italians, the Poles or the Slovenes have the problems we had, I’m not sure they will make it to the semi-finals (…) When you lose (3-0 in the semi-final against Italy , Editor’s note), you see all the negative sides. At a certain point, you have to remain lucid and see what is positive, we struggled for two months and we reached the semi-finals“.

Q: Can you go over what has happened since your injury ( of the quadriceps tendon of the right thigh)?

A:It’s the longest injury of my career. Modena (his Italian club from 2014 to 2018 and from 2021 to 2023, Editor’s note) did not do the job. I said that my knee hurts, there were no in-depth examinations carried out. There were exams, but reading exams is not my job and they told me there was nothing. We were playing a European Cup final (CEV Cup won against the Belgians from Roeselare, Editor’s note) and when I arrived in France and I said +It’s weird, my knee still hurts+, we did tests and I was told that there was a in the tendon. It is unlikely that the medical staff in Modena did not see it (…) The Modena club has a huge responsibility, we did not have the possibility of turnover, of resting senior players , I think they preferred not to tell me that there was a on the tendon. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have played the final. On the other hand, I would have started treatment earlier to be in good shape for this Euro“.

Q: The idea is to say for you as for the French team, it is better that this happens this season than in 2024…

A: It can always be worse. You can have a big injury and be out for the Olympics, we have such long seasons. We see it when we are at the net: we French, we are smaller than the others, we are skinnier, we are more physically fragile than the other teams, but that is also our strength, we are faster, we play on Mischief. But physically when we finish the seasons, we are tested. This is also why I decided to go to Turkey: the championship is less dense. Halkbank Ankara is a team that has ambitions in the Champions League, but I will be able to breathe and prepare myself better physically (…) Next summer, we have to arrive in good shape“.

Q: Precisely the Olympics, since the coronation of Tokyo, France finished 9th in Euro-2021, 5th in the World Cup-2022 and 3rd or 4th in Euro-2023 depending on the result of the match for 3rd place against Slovenia on Saturday…

A:It’s not worrying for us, because we know what happened. We didn’t show our true colors (…) I’m quite confident, I’m quite serene. The most important thing for us is to arrive in good physical shape (…) We will work and in less than a year, we will be Olympic champions, because we will be at full strength, we will not have had physical glitches“.

Comments collected by Jérôme RASETTI


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