World medalist for the first time in Doha in May, Walide Khyar continues to gain weight in international judo. Sixth in the world rankings, the judoka, at 28, is enjoying a second career since he chose to move from the −60 kg category to the −66 kg category. Friday, he will be one of the French medal chances during the first day of the European Championships, in Montpellier (November 3 to 5).
Great early hope of French judo, Walide Khyar impressed at the age of 19 by winning the 2016 European champion title in the smallest weight category – he didn’t know it then, but he would have to wait seven years to get back on the podium of a major championship. At the same time, he flew to the Olympic Games (OG) in Rio de Janeiro. But in Brazil he suffered his first sporting disillusionment, falling in the second round, beaten by a local fighter in the last seconds, while he was leading.
His troubles have only just begun. While he dreams of taking revenge since his carioca nightmare, he is not selected for the Tokyo edition of the Olympics, contested in the legendary Budokan hall. “My defeat in 2016 was a big slap in the face. I tried for a long time to work on this pain, hard to erasehe confesses. I told myself I would win the next ones. I was in a bit of denial, and it didn’t go as planned. »
“I needed something different”
Worse, without the postponement of the Olympics from 2020 to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was Walide Khyar who would have had a second Olympic chance. “In 2020, I was the only one selected. But the next year I was injured [à la cheville] until April », he remembers. The one who replaced him at the Tokyo Games, Luka Mhkeidze, did not let the opportunity p: he won the first medal for the French judo team – bronze in − 60 kg.
Walide Khyar then leaves to train alone in Chechnya, a land of wrestlers who produce judokas with a fierce style. And, after a period of introspection, he then comes up with the solution to get back on track. “At the beginning, I saw myself going back for three years in the same categoryhe remembers. Then, during my solo internship, I sat down and realized that I needed a new challenge, something different, that excites me even more. »
After years of imposing a strict diet on himself, following failures and disappointments, the judoka decides to change weight category. His trainer, Kylian Le Blouch, follows his protégé in this adventure, as does the French Federation of Judo, Jujitsu, Kendo and ociated Disciplines (FFJDA). “His non-selection in 2021 was complicated. He knew how to bounce back immediately. It’s a second career. He was very quick to make his decision”admires Frédérique Jossinet, vice-president of the FFJDA in charge of high level and performance.
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