Sarah-Leonie Cysique out in repechage


The Olympic vice-champion in Tokyo, was beaten in the -57 kg repechage final. Beaten in…

Sarah-Leonie Cysique out in repechage

Sarah-Leonie Cysique out in repechage

The Olympic vice-champion in Tokyo, was beaten in the -57 kg repechage final.

Beaten in repechage, Tokyo Olympic vice-champion Sarah-Leonie Cysique failed to get a first medal at the World Judo Championships on Tuesday in Doha. “Frustrating”: the term was repeated endlessly by the Frenchwoman at the end of her day of fighting.

Often medalist in the major events of the judo calendar, the 24-year-old fighter has never yet managed to win individual gold in an international competition, she who had come close to Olympic gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Among seniors, she is still waiting for a first world podium.

“Obviously I’m disappointed and I always expect more from my competitions. Not being able to get what you want is very frustrating. And when it repeats itself, the frustration grows,” she said between sobs.

“It’s always harder and harder and especially with the approach of the Games (in Paris), I want to do great things, to climb on the first step of the podium. Not getting there is super hard.”

Cysique’s day had started with a diesel warm-up against Cuba’s Arnaes Odelin Garcia, then a convincing victory by ippon after having immobilized the German Pauline Starke. In the third round, she had to go all the way to the Golden Score to dominate the Georgian Eteri Liparteliani.

Despite the sound encouragement of the French team, her friend Romane ****o in the lead, she then lost by ippon in the quarter-finals to Christa Deguchi, world champion in 2019. On her way, the Canadian then won a new world gold against the Japanese Haruka Funakubo.

Back on the tatami for her repechage final, Cysique fell on a waza-ari during the Golden Score, beaten by another Canadian world champion, Jessica Klimkait, crowned in 2021.

“In the quarters already it was very hard to lose because it is still a dream that falls. Of not having the gold medal, of being world champion,” she said. “I mobilized to get the medal but it wasn’t enough, she was stronger.”

Cysique was playing her first competition since December when she lost – and injured – in the final of the Jerusalem Masters. But the French did not want to “find excuses”. “The injury was one thing but I managed to come back and I felt good. I had no pain in the knee,” she said.

“Today Sarah was not as good as she is capable of being. She lacked a bit of rhythm”, however estimated her trainer Séverine Vandenhende.

On the third day of competition, the Blues record their first day without a medal since the other Frenchman of the day, Joan-Benjamin Gaba, was eliminated in the second round.

But despite the loss, the 22-year-old Frenchman’s ‘magnificent’ attitude was praised by his coach. “You have a boy who commits with his guts, with his courage and his energy”, welcomed Stéphane Auduc. “Today there are still a few details missing but we are not far away, we are on settings and experience. It will happen.”

Wednesday will mark the return of the double Olympic champion from Tokyo Clarisse Agbégnénou (-63 kg), ten months after the birth of her daughter. On the men’s side, Alpha Djalo, recently on four podiums between Grand Slams and Masters, will defend his chances in -81 kg.

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