7 December 2023


European Club Championships - Champions League


Teddy RINER, 34, has already experienced a lot in his career: 3 Olympic victories (2 x individual/+100, 1 x Mixed-Team), 11 World Championship and 4 European Championship titles, an incredible winning streak of 154 fights in a row, the French superstar has also won the Champions League – with his former club Levallois SC in 2011. Now he wants to write sporting history for the blue-white-red colours of Paris Saint-Germain.
Six years ago, the judo section of Paris SG was re-established (after a 14-year break) – with Teddy Riner as its figurehead. Since then, the women’s and men’s teams have won three national team titles each. On Saturday, in the Stark Arena in Belgrade, the big international breakthrough should finally be achieved. Romane DICKO, Teddy Riner and their colleagues are dreaming of the first Champions League title in the club’s history.

The PSG footballers were beaten 1:0 by Bayern in the 2020 Champions League final, while the handball team was beaten 23:24 by Skopje in Cologne in 2017. Will the judoka now beat the Champions League curse? The PSG aces landed in the Serbian capital on Thursday. We asked superstar Teddy Riner for a short interview.
Teddy, it’s been 30 weeks since your eleventh world title in Doha and you haven’t fought an international match since. What can we expect from you on Saturday? Will you achieve what the PSG football and handball professionals have so far failed to do, securing the first Champions League title?
Teddy Riner: “I’ve already won the Champions League once with Levallois SC. It would be very special if we could do the same with Paris SG. As you say, it would be the first – a truly historic – title. And yes, I haven’t played in an international competition since mid-May (210 days). But I feel in good shape and my Olympic preparations are going according to plan. The home Summer Games in Paris are just around the corner. I’m ready for another gold medal. The Champions League is a welcomed test for me.”
Who can challenge you for the title on Saturday?
Riner: “It’s hard to say, I don’t know much about the opponents. Maybe Red Star Belgrade? What I do know is that we have a top line-up this year – with the three Georgians (Lasha Shavdatuashvili/73, Tato Grigalashvili/-81, Lasha Bekauri/-90) we have extremely strong legionnaires. We are certainly among the favourites for the title… YES, WE CAN!”
The year 2023 will end for you with the Champions League, do you already know when and where you will start the 2024 season?
Riner: “I’d like to compete at the home Grand Slam in Paris-Bercy at the beginning of February. But we won’t decide whether it makes sense to start until the end of January. Preparing for the Olympics has priority!”

Author: EJU Media