Anyone talking about the big winners of the European Championships weekend in Montpellier (FRA) cannot fail to mention Alina BÖHM (GER).
Mouth wide open, hands clenched into fists. YES! The relief was written all over her face. The 26-year-old from Cologne celebrated her first tournament win of 2023 and successfully defended her European Championships title (from Sofia 2022).
“A huge success for me. It’s a seal of quality when you win a major event like the European Championships twice in a row. I was correspondingly relieved and happy. Especially when I saw my team – they were incredibly happy for me. That was really cool,” beamed Böhm. “My team-mates have seen me in all situations over the last couple of years, in good times and bad, celebrating and even crying. It’s nice to share this victory with them. It has been quite a rollercoaster ride.”
At the start of 2021, I didn’t know what to expect. I had put on some more weight and wanted to move to the -78 kg category. When I asked if that was possible, my coach told me, that there was still one place available for the Grand Slam in Paris. The tournament was just around the corner, so there wasn’t much time to think about it. I accepted and was drawn to play local hero Audrey TCHEUMEO, a two-time Olympic medallist and world and European champion, in round one. Not the kind of draw I was hoping for… But then I threw her with a beautiful O-goshi, my favourite throw, and came fifth. My start could hardly have gone better. And not much later, I won gold at the European Championships in Sofia.”
One year later, Alina Böhm has long since become one of the top aces in the new category and can be found on 5th place in the World ranking list. And the upwards trend is still rising. “The second European Championship title is an important step in my career and also a step towards Paris – in terms of qualification.” The gap to 4th ranked Anna-Maria WAGNER has come down to 200 points.
While Böhm was still giving the first interviews in the mixed zone on the Sunday afternoon, DJB rival and former world champion Anna-Maria Wagner sent her congratulations by text message. Alina reads the message and smiles. “It’s a privilege for a country to have two such strong athletes in the same weight class. It pushes us in training, we get better through the sessions together. And we are both professionals, so we take advantage of this situation.”
It goes without saying that only one of the two is allowed to go to the Olympic Games 2024 in Paris, the top highlight. “Like everything in life, there is no advantage without a disadvantage. Of course it’s tough. But so much can still happen between now and June 2024 – including injuries. I’m trying to think as little as possible about the qualifying status and the Paris Games. I keep on trying to approach every tournament as if it were my last. In other words, with 100 per cent, regardless of losses. And of course I hope that I’m the luckier of the two of us in the end. Anna-Maria is certainly no different.”
Author: EJU Media