It has been a disappointing week for the French team, one of the worlds powerhouses in judo. Even though Amandine BUCHARD and Manon DEKETER took bronze medals, it isn’t quite what they are used to on the world stage but perhaps preparation and missing out on events such as the Hungary Grand Slam due to covid prevented them from being on top of their game.
It has been a strange week for us, unfortunately before today we didn’t take many medals so I’m happy we have two more and that I can take this title back to my country.
Today, both Julia TOLOFUA and Romane DICKO managed to make it in to the semi final of the +78kg category against one another, with the latter coming out on top. Tolofua ended up taking a bronze medal so there were plenty of celebrations for Team France on day seven.
Julia (Tolofua) and I are friends so before we went out for the semi final we just said may the best win and I and so proud that I could stand on the podium with her. We came together and took the two medals for France.
It wasn’t the smoothest start to the day as she was down a waza ari score in her first contest but she managed to pull it back in order to make it to the final.
It has been a year since the Olympics and have been waiting, there was a little bit of pressure but I felt good when my day started. In my first contest I knew that my first action was not good and I paid for it but still that I had a lot of time to come back and I was confident that I would do it.
It was Dicko’s first opportunity for a senior world medal and taking her on in the final was the 2021 bronze medallist, Beatriz SOUZA (BRA).
I think coming to a world championships you know everyone here is capable of winning, so I had to really believe in myself and that it would be to take gold. You have to be the best on the day. My first thought after the ippon was “I made it, I have the red back patch.” It is my first in a world championships and I came for the gold so I am just so so happy.
Coaching Dicko in the final was Séverine VANDENHENDE, a French legend in her own right, owner of a world and Olympic title who has been guiding the women of this team to great success.
Having Séverine in my chair is so important and really special, she is a world and Olympic champion and to have her helping me to become this as well is amazing, I am so thankful to her.
Author: Thea Cowen