2 February 2024


Paris Grand Slam 2024


Shirine BOUKLI (FRA) and compatriot Luka MKHEIDZE stood just a few metres apart from each other and gave interviews with broad grins. The roar of the crowd in the interview zone was very muted. Nevertheless, the euphoria was palpable. For both of them, it was their first home Grand Slam victory, a full 174 days before the Summer Olympics in Paris. The “Grande Nation” celebrates itself as a judo superpower.

Shirine Boukli on…
… her victory in the final over Japan’s Wakana KOGA:
“It was my third win in a row against her (in the fifth duel). This victory has special significance. I really wanted to win my first home gold in Bercy and start the Olympic year with a success.”

…a disallowed waza-ari score: “I’m experienced enough to deal with a situation like that. But of course it’s special when it happens in the final in Paris. I told myself: wait for the decision, don’t become a spectator in the final. Stay active, force the win. And I managed to do that.”

… the goal of Olympic gold: “This home win helps me. I’ve achieved another career goal. Being able to make another CHECK. Now it’s about winning the gold medal at the Olympics. That’s an even more important goal. Today I’m really happy and proud. And we’ll work on the small mistakes I made today. I’ll be even stronger in six months’ time!”

Luka Mkheidze on…
… his first home win in Bercy: “This counts a lot for me. After the European title in Montpellier, I’ve now also won at World Tour level in Paris. In front of our fans, in our hall. This atmosphere is unique – it will be no different at the Games (albeit in a different hall). I can hardly wait!”

… his personal secret to success: “I think I’m even stronger now in thinking only from fight to fight. To concentrate on my tasks. I’m very focussed. And of course these two home victories give me a lot of confidence!”

Author: EJU Media