2 February 2024


Paris Grand Slam 2024


“I love Bercy, I love this place, the atmosphere in the hall. This Grand Slam is really special. And I always fight really strong here,” beamed a visibly satisfied Distria KRASNIQI (KOS/-52) after her third Grand Slam success in Paris-Bercy. The world number one has stood on the podium in Paris a total of seven times and finished fifth twice more. A record to be proud of. The 28-year-old only needed a total of 12:28 minutes for her five victories. The Olympic champion took time for a brief interview before the award ceremony.

How would you summarise today in Paris-Bercy? Was it a perfect day?

Distria Krasniqi: “I would say yes, it was a perfect day for me. I fought really hard and never had the feeling that I could lose. This arena does something to you: As soon as I step into the Accor Arena, I feel good. I have a lot of positive memories and simply feel at home here. And in the final it was clear: after losing four finals in a row, three of them at Grand Slams, I wanted to start more actively this time and turn the tables. That was the order from my coach (Driton “Toni” Kuka) and I wanted to do it with all my might.”

It was your fourth win against Chelsie GILES (GBR) in your fifth duel. What was the deciding factor?

Krasniqi: “I lost to her in the semi-final at the 2022 World Championships… The other duels went to me, including today. But it’s not easy to fight Chelsie, our bouts are always close. But I didn’t want to think too much about my opponent. The aim was to concentrate on my performance and my strengths.”

In December, you changed for once to the 57 kg category at your home tournament in Kosovo and fought against physically stronger opponents. Looking back on this one-day-adventure: Did it help you to become even stronger in the Olympic year?

Krasniqi: “To be honest, I haven’t thought about that yet. Spontaneously, I would say it didn’t play a role today. But yes, it was a cool experience and really fun. For the next month, I only care about the – 52 kg category. I’ll be competing for an Olympic medal in the summer…”

Not in Bercy, but in Paris, not far from the Eiffel Tower. As a Grand Slam winner, how do you feel about the Olympic Games?

Krasniqi: “Now I’m back on the winning track, I feel good. Everything is going according to plan. And yes, you have to beat me in Paris first. That also applies to the Olympic Summer Games!”

Author: EJU Media