Teddy Riner's quest for gold therefore ended in the quarter-finals, a little before 6 a.m., on tatami number 2 at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. The referee asked for the video to be analyzed, but there was little doubt about the verdict. Russian Tamerlan Bashaev, world number 1 in the over 100 kg category, deserves waza-ari for having tilted the tricolor giant in the golden score. "Teddy tries a sutemi, a snatch from the front, Bashaev controls it well and pushes it at the same time", summarizes Laurent Calleja, one of the Frenchman's coaches. A few whistles escaped from the stands, but the sanction was irremediable. It is all the more annoying, that Teddy Riner dominated the fight, even mastered it, and led two shidos (warnings) to one, which left no room for error in the Russian.
"He was not losing, on the contrary, two shidos to one, it was quiet," said the coach.
Earlier, during his first two fights, against the Austrian Stephan Hegyi and the Israeli Or Sasson, the double Olympic champion had appeared a little more inside.
“At the start of the Olympic tournament, there is always a little stress, that's normal,” notes Calleja.
Bronze in sight, anyway
The rest will be written from 12:20. Beaten in the quarter-finals, Teddy Riner retains a chance to win a bronze medal, but will have to go through the draft. The challenge is also great, as the Olympic tournament is so dense. In the repechage, Riner will face the Brazilian Rafael Silva, double Olympic bronze medalist. If Riner crosses the obstacle, the fight for 3rd place on the podium promises to be tough as he will have to beat the winner of the semi-final between Czech Krpálek and Japanese Harasawa, vice Olympic champion, who did not appear at best this morning.
But for that, Riner, necessarily stunned, will have to re-mobilize. In the passageways of the Nippon Budokan, another fight begins. Surrounded by Franck Chambily, his other coach, Julien Corvo, one of his physical trainers, and Meriem Salmi, the psychologist who has been accompanying him since he was 14 years old, Teddy Riner tries to evacuate the disappointment to start looking for which would still be his fourth Olympic medal, after bronze in Beijing (2008) and gold in London (2012) and Rio (2016).