Even if the thunderclap is not as resounding as the fall of Teddy Riner a few tens of kilometers away, the French men's epee team, Olympic champion in Rio 2016, suffered a terrible blow this Friday.
Indeed, it was eliminated 45 to 44 in the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament by Japan, Friday in Chiba.
A meeting where she nevertheless appeared as a favorite and which, on paper, should only be an appetizer.
Unfortunately, there was therefore no effect Romain Cannone, surprise Olympic champion in individual, who had to be content with a neutral performance against the Japanese (15 touches scored but 15 touches also taken).
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Loudly encouraged by a large Japanese delegation at Makuhari Messe Hall, the Japanese Masaru Yamada, Koki Kano and Satoru Uyama, who had ruled out the Americans a little earlier (45-39), bravely believed in their chances until the end, succeeding to equalize each time the Habs took the advantage.
Before the last duel, the French were still leading 38-36 but Yannick Borel suffered a fatal 9-6.
The French, favorite for individual gold, was eliminated from the start on Sunday and therefore ended up with nightmarish Games.
We are going to get back to work with a lot of humility,
” he explained, referring to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, adding that he was taking “
his share of responsibility
” in this defeat.
Morally touched Borel
I was alert, I knew that I had to be very careful in view of my individual result but there I had my teammates, I was not alone. My slightest mistakes, I knew they were going to tell me so I was very attentive,
"also said the 2018 world champion. Borel, who was playing his third Olympics, said"
blaming himself a lot
" for the advance of two touches in the last stint that he was unable to keep: “
it's painful to come out of these Games without a medal. We feel below what is expected of us, we feel below everything,
”said the member of the Levallois club, visibly very affected but lucid.
It is a huge disappointment because we had come to look for the gold so the pill is difficult to swallow.
We expected a very close match, it is a strong nation of the sword, it is one of their weapons of predilection in which they have progressed enormously. They had already given us problems during Olympic qualification
, ”explained Bardenet in the mixed zone. “
We weren't able to capitalize on our lead, they were able to stay in touch. It's a game that can be played for nothing, it's the hard law of sport, it's a huge disappointment because we had come to seek the gold so the pill is difficult to swallow
”. Cannone, gold medalist on Sunday, made a point of paying tribute to his teammates, “
who have always been mentors: they taught me rigor, strategy and it remains a family that I do not.would trade for nothing
". The men's epee, the traditionally strong weapon of French fencing, was crowned by teams at each edition since 2004 (the team event was not on the program in London in 2012).