the returning Audrey Tcheuméo, silver medalist at the world championships

Audrey Tcheuméo during her victory against the Japanese Shori Hamada, reigning Olympic champion, in Doha, May 12, 2023.

She was stopped inches from glory. Audrey Tcheuméo became vice-world champion of judo, in the categories of – 78 kg, Friday, May 12, in Doha. In the final, the 33-year-old Frenchwoman, who had tasted the joy of a world title in Paris in 2011, was beaten by the 23-year-old Israeli Inbar Lanir. If this is the fifth medal for the French at these Worlds, only Clarisse Agbegnenou won gold on Wednesday in − 63 kg.

For the native of Bondy (Seine-Saint-Denis), the first performance, accomplished in recent months, was to regain leadership in her category in France. After a title of Olympic vice-champion in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Tcheuméo had been joined and then overtaken in the tricolor hierarchy by Madeleine Malonga, world champion in 2019 and silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

The judoka then went through a long period of doubt: “When you are ped in front of you, there is no longer any selection [en équipe de France pour les grands championnats internationaux], that in every competition you struggle to p the first round… I wondered if I was going to stop”, she explained to West France.

To a good school

But, in 2022, the power and speed of Audrey Tcheuméo started to hit the mark again during the Paris Tournament, which she won by beating Malonga (3e). At the end of that year, she reached the final of the Masters, in Jerusalem, where she came up against the young Italian Alice Bellandi, who was world number one when she arrived in Doha.

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The confirmation of Tcheuméo’s return to the fore is final, at the beginning of 2023, when she once again wins the Paris Tournament. “I am a phoenixshe says then In The Team. We must not let go of anything in life, which is made up of ups and downs. My parents taught me that. » Daughter of a footballer and a handball player, both internationals with Cameroon, the young woman was in good school to learn the requirements of the very high level.

Friday in Doha, Tcheuméo was extremely efficient by first eliminating the Colombian Brenda Olaya, then sweeping the Belarusian – who was playing under a neutral banner – Darya Kantsavaya in 21 seconds. Then came the reigning Olympic champion, the Japanese Shori Hamada. It only took one minute and twenty-six seconds for the Frenchwoman to emerge from the mat as the winner. In the semi-finals, Tcheuméo beat the Dutch Guusje Steenhuis, 5e world, giving the impression of never being able to be worried.

All that remained was to win a single fight, the most important, that for the gold medal, against the Israeli Lanir, faller in the semi-finals of the Italian Bellandi. In the final, Tcheuméo seemed bothered very early on by pain in her right hand. After two minutes of confrontation, a first shiver crossed the French delegation when an ippon in favor of Lanir was announced. But after viewing, the referees finally made the choice to cancel this action. A few seconds later, Lanir sent Tcheuméo to the mat without any doubt being allowed.

Despite this defeat in the final of the Worlds, Tcheuméo has given new impetus to his career. She, who was no longer qualified for the major international events, can legitimately nurture the ambition to represent France in − 78 kg at the 2024 Paris Games, in her native region.

Saturday, May 13, the French will have two new opportunities to increase their medal total, with the entry into the running of Romane o and Teddy Riner, respectively in + 78 kg and + 100 kg.

Sports department

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