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Olympic Games Judo Preview U63kg
Olympic Games Judo Preview U63kg
26 Jul 2021 23:05
Pedro Lasuen - IJF and JudoInside
JudoInside.com / judo news, results and photos

Clarisse Agbegnenou is the queen of judo, but the Olympic title is still lacking and the French will do everything to grab that precious gold medal. Olympic gold has become Agbegnenou's obsession and her stubbornness is understandable because in the last four years, practically no one has stopped her.

Agbegnenou’s great Olympic frustration comes from Rio, where everything was set for her coronation as queen of U63kg, but which ended with a silver for the greater glory of the inscrutable aspect of the sport. Agbegnenou did not know how to win what she should have won but she learned her lesson and has not made the same mistake again. At the Doha Masters she lost the final, a fortuitous slip between relentless victories because the Frenchwoman has won twelve of the thirteen tournaments she has played since the 2017 Masters. Above all, Agbegnenou has won the world title five times, the last four in a row and when she is on the tatami, she gives the impression that whatever happens she will win in the end and that cools any opponent.

At first glance, the only one that could spoil her date with a golden destiny is precisely the one who shattered her Olympic dream in Brazil. Tina Trstenjak is an Olympic champion in her own right, because she delivered a flawless final, very clever, forcing Agbegnenou to make mistakes. Her performance was the perfect example of how to face such a demanding tournament from the mental point of view, with rigor, cold blood and patience. At the Olympic Games everyone is fit; the physical is less important than the mental aspect. In Rio, the Slovenian was the best and that is what Agbegnenou wants to remedy.

Tina Trstenjak still at top level

At the moment the French judoka has corrected the shot and has already taken the measure of the Slovenian. Now it is Trstenjak who runs behind. In Tokyo they will only be able to meet in the final and taking into account their latest results, with victory at the European Championships for Trstenjak and in the World Championship for Agbegnenou, it does not seem that things are going to change.

You never know, though. Here there are at least five athletes wanting to spoil the party for the first two.

Miku Tashiro is the threat

At the head of this pack is, of course, one of Japan’s finest, Tashiro Miku, world number three and a recent winner in Tashkent. At 27 she may have this last chance to win the Olympic title. To do this she will have to pass over Trstenjak in the semi-finals and finish the job against Agbegnenou. Others would be frightened by such a panorama. We foresee no problems for Tashiro to qualify for the semi finals. 

We can also include Canadian Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, Brazilian Ketleyn Quadros and German Martyna Trajdos in the squad of medal candidates. Beauchemin-Pinard and Quadros are in the same pool. Dutch woman Juul Franssen was forced to take a break but this Olympic opportunity may take her back to the highest stage. She won World bronze in 2019 and was selected for Tokyo in an early stage. It is up to meet the expectations for her country. For that she will have to defeat World bronze medallist Anja Obradovic in the first round. We think that is already a huge roadblock for Franssen. In the quarter final Clarisse Agbegnenou is the opponent for that winner.

If she wins, Agbegnenou will have completed the cycle of major titles with authority. If the victory is for Trstenjak, the Slovenian will enter through the front door of the Olympic pantheon. Whatever happens, in the end, the one that always wins is judo, but at least she has a good draw in Pool C.