486 athletes from 46 nations, 14 weight classes, 423 fights, 24 hours of world-class judo and 18,000 spectators. The European Championships in Montpellier were a complete success on all fronts. Stéphane NOMIS, President of the French Judo Federation (FFJDA), was in a correspondingly good mood during the interview.
As the host and organiser, how satisfied are you with this European Championships in Montpellier?
Stéphane Nomis: “Satisfied all round. To be honest, we weren’t sure beforehand: a European Championship during the autumn holidays is not ideal. And we in France are not used to a major (sporting) event on a Friday. But everything went really well. We had a full venue hall on all three days, the atmosphere was infectious, you could hardly understand your own words. And our team performed exceptionally well, nine medals in total, five in gold …”
… but that was to be expected. France Judo was already number one in the medals table in Sofia and now again in Montpellier. What does that mean for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris?
Nomis: “We’ve had a lot of changes in recent months. We’ve had lots of new faces in the team, both in the coaching staff and among the athletes. The new generation has handled this pressure very well. And of course the pressure is going to increase even further before the Olympics. Everywhere we go, the first question is: How many medals will you win in Paris? Who will win gold? But our team is handling this kind of pressure very well. So we’re very happy with the medal haul. One thing is also clear: we’re preparing for the Summer Games in Paris – the European Championships were a stopover, a very important one, but the final judgement won’t be made for another eight months – at the Olympics.”
Did you have a particularly emotional moment this weekend?
Nomis: “Yes, Sunday morning. We opened a new dojo in Montpellier, in one of the underprivileged neighbourhoods. I was accompanied by our gold medallists Shirine BOUKLI and Luka MKHEIDZE. It was really nice to see the shining eyes of the children, parents and local politicians. We really enjoyed these two hours!”
Author: EJU Media