7 February 2024


Paris Grand Slam 2024


The weight of the world is on the shoulders of Team France as we approach the Olympic Games in Paris 2024. In both London and Rio Olympics, over 3.6 billion viewers were captivated by the best sportsmen and women coming together to compete for the ultimate title of Olympic Champion. In Beijing, this number skyrocketed to almost 4.7 billion, and France will drawing crowds after the limiting Games in Tokyo. After the Opening Ceremony, judo enthusiasts will be excitedly tuning in for judo as one of the first disciplines, and in that group will be -48kg judoka, Shirine BOUKLI of France.

I have done a lot of mental preparation and work, the objective is to not be shocked by the event, I did a lot of visualisation about the event and last year I had the chance with European Judo to visit the arena so I know a little but not too much. I think a lot of the possibilities, how the warm up will be, but for the village for example, I know how it will be, I know the mood, the setting, of course I don’t want to overthink it because it’s a point of stress. I will be with all of the French people, we will eat in the big dining place so I can take my last experience with me. 

This isn’t Boukli’s first Olympic Games, and although the last one in Tokyo didn’t go to plan, it was a chance to learn and grow. 

Tokyo Olympic Games © Gabi Juan

Looking back I know it was a sad feeling but I can take it with me and I know how to use that in Paris. I feel what it means, the Olympics. I visualise the feeling of walking out, the crowd, to prepare my head. For me, the history is different, in Tokyo it is the home of judo, it is historic there, but we have come to another strong judo nation. It has the same importance. 

Boukli will be welcoming teams from all over the world, but surprisingly is missing out on the travelling aspect,

When you don’t travel, you miss those first feelings of competition. The process is special, you’re sitting at home on the sofa, not packing or flying somewhere, so you need to work on that preparation. For the Grand Slam in Bercy I prepared for it like it was a Championship. 

I know this is probably the chance to make history and to make judo a big story, for people to know Shirine Boukli is a judo player. I was very young when I started judo, my goal was to be a champion for my family and for myself, and I know how hard I work and I think sometimes more than the other girls and I’m sure everything is possible and if I’m ready, possible for me to win. It is a dream for all athletes.

Before the Paris Grand Slam, INSEP was visited by French President, Emmanuel MACRON, addressing the athletes with support and a spirit to bring glory to the host nation. 

I think he knows that French Judo is very strong and that it is possible to have medals in all categories and I think he respects that. After judo he visited with other athletes from other sports but it was so special! I just see Macron on the tv so when he came I was like wow I have the tv here! It was nice to have him watch us and have his trust in us. 

President Macron visits INSEP © Gabi Juan

The goal of the Olympic movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. So when people are choosing to watch judo during the Olympic Games in Paris, what does she want the message to be? 

For me, it the world today it is important to be practicing sport, other sports okay no problem, but I practice judo and love it and it’s the best sport in the world!! It has great values and I just want to show that it is important to work for whatever it is you want, and to really believe in yourself. You must do everything possible for your dream, and that’s what I want to show to everyone, it is for life. I’m sure I’m the person I am because of judo.


Author: Thea Cowen