World champion Clarisse Agbegnenou (FRA) wrote the latest chapter in the biggest rivalry in women’s judo as the French superstar defeated arch-rival, Olympic champion and two-time Paris winner Tina Trstenjak (SLO) to win her home Grand Slam for the fifth time.
The rematch of the Rio 2016 Olympic final closed out a thrilling first day of competition in style as both champions gave their all in Paris. Gutsy Slovenian Trstenjak more than matched powerhouse Agbegnenou in regulation time and for three minutes of golden score until the three-time world champion and owner of the red backpatch rolled over the owner of the gold backpatch for a waza-ari score and France’s first gold medal at home this weekend.
In the first semi-final Agbegnenou defeated Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Andreja Leski (SLO) by two waza-ari scores to comfortably advance to the final. In the second semi-final Trstenjak outlasted World Judo Masters silver medallist Nabekura Nami (JPN) who was disqualified after receiving her third shido for passivity.
In the first bronze medal contest Nabekura dismissed Cancun Grand Prix silver medallist Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (CAN) after just 29 seconds by ippon from an o-soto-gari. The second bronze medal contest saw Leski conquer Osaka Grand Slam bronze medallist Nouchi Aimi (JPN) by ippon in the penultimate contest on day one.
The winner said: "I hurt my shoulder at the end of the day, on my last action, the one that gave me the victory. I do not know exactly what it is. I will have an MRI tomorrow and we will advise. I had trouble getting started early in the day because I had trouble concentrating on my judo. I must say that I had a big week of training. I did activities that were not necessarily judo oriented. It was useful to take a little distance, but at the same time it complicated my task in the first matches."
"This fifth title in Paris is simply great. It puts pressure on my opponents, who realize that I am the leader of the category. This psychological ascendancy is important. As the day unfolded, I became aware that the public had come to see me. The public was sheering more and more. On the one hand, it makes my heart warm, but at the same time, I said to myself: oh yes, no choice... It added a little pressure."