29 September 2023


Prague European Open 2024


Following a shocking yet exciting announcement, we are all now well aware of the return of Olympic bronze medallist, Ugo LEGRAND (FRA).

After an eight year hiatus, Legrand is back on the scene and we will be honoured to have the talented technician back on the European Judo stage this weekend in Prague. All of this of course, is in a bid to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024. It is an ambitious feat, but has the backing of former team mate, and leader of Team France, Teddy RINER.

The 34 year-old Legrand is on a mission to take a second Olympic medal, even improving on his previous result, and he is also aware of the gap in age between himself and his present opponents, though some will remain familiar. In fact, 2012 Olympic champion of the -66kg category, Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) will be joining him in the -73kg category, if Legrand completes his challenge of becoming an Olympic contender on home soil.

Ahead of the Prague European Open this weekend, the TV channel France 3 visited the Institut National du Sport (INSEP) to interview Legrand. Three-time Olympic champion Teddy RINER spoke with his team mate, and camera crew, to encourage him.

We’re friends, I’ve known Ugo for a long time. He is going to do it. Ugo is very talented, he is someone who feels the judo, and if he decides to do something, nothing can stop him. I’m 1000% for him.

He hasn’t lost anything. I can watch it, you can say, it is normal, he came back and he just needs to be in shape again, but he started throwing ippons, and announcing colours, this is really good. Now what we want is a programme, and I’m there, behind him, with him. The Olympics is in Paris, Ugo decided his comeback, no one has taken his place. He is the one who left this place and now he is back to recover it.

Riner then jokes,

I have a plan (for Paris), but I’ll only tell him.

After some friendly remarks, Legrand becomes serious and looks ahead wilfully to the summer of 2024.

If I want to get a medal in Paris, I have to qualify for the Games anyway. If I really get a medal again then, that would be the holy grail for me.

The France 3 reporter concluded that if Legrand comes back, it will be one of the stories of the Olympic year. They weren’t wrong. We often look to defending champions to retain their titles, for underdogs, like Lasha BEKAURI to succeed at an impossibly young age, defying the odds carrying injuries, but now we have another angle.

Legrand’s grand comeback.

See the full interview with Legrand: https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/normandie/seine-maritime/rouen/video-jo-de-paris-2024-8-ans-apres-le-judoka-ugo-legrand-revient-en-force-sur-le-tatami-2844098.html26595606528


Author: EJU Media