“Fortunately my daughter is here, otherwise I would have banged my fist on the table more often”
Clarisse Agbegnenou after her victory against Slovenian Tina Trstenjak in the final of the Tokyo…
At the Tokyo Olympics (OG) in 2021, she spearheaded the French judo team. Since then, she has become a mother. At the Doha World Championships (May 7 to 14), Clarisse Agbegnenou is competing in her first major international competition since the birth of her daughter in June 2022. The judoka, who can already boast of counting to his credit five world titles, enters the competition Wednesday in the category of less than 63 kg. She tells the World the balance she finds in her motherhood and evokes her “adversarial relationships” with the French Judo Federation, of which the “kimono episode” is just the latest.
How is your return to the tatami a few months after becoming a mother?
Pretty good. I’m starting to get back in shape, even if it took time – and it will take more. You have to reshape your body, regain strength. There is the accumulation of fatigue. I left the last course and I’m happy with what I produced while also managing my family life.
You resumed physical training in the summer of 2022, fighting in September, played in your first club competition in November… Was it a desire to get back into the bath quickly?
I didn’t want to impose a date on myself. I did it by feeling, step by step. I spoke with my gynecologist, my midwife, my doctor, my coaches. When I saw that everything was going well, my recovery followed. I had decided to let time do its thing. I said to myself: “You’ll see how you’re going to give birth, if your baby is in good health. »
Is it harder than you imagined?
If we talk about the simple return to training, it was quick and rather easy. But when you know the level of performance I’m aiming for, the sportswoman I used to be, it’s obviously hard. There is a change in the body. I also decided to live my motherhood 100%. There is accumulated fatigue, I breastfeed on demand day and night. It is no longer my own decision, but that of my daughter. Me, I make sure to go to training in the best conditions. I hold the good end and I manage to reconcile the two.
Will your daughter be with you during the Worlds in Qatar?
Yes, I have decided that she is with me permanently. I get support. There is also my family, my friends, and Nadia [son agente] to help me when I’m interviewing, training or competing. These are things that had been recorded upstream. It’s the ANS [l’Agence nationale du sport] who gives the money to the federation. And then the international judo federation also put new rules in place. My daughter can be with me in the warm-up room.
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