Teddy Riner, who hadn't competed since May, made a winning comeback with three victorious fights on Saturday in Belgrade in the Champions League, seven and a half months before the Paris Olympics, where he will be aiming for a third individual Olympic title.
The men of her club PSG won bronze in the team competition, while the women won gold for the first time.
Even though I lacked rhythm, I'm very happy with my day," Riner said at the end of the fights, still lamenting a "frustrating" result for his team.
"I feel good"
The job was to win these fights, to be present, to do the job of captain, that's what I did," added the Guadeloupean. "But it's a shame because we had a very, very, great team. We were really the team to beat, and we let ourselves be beaten." Riner hadn't competed since winning the national team title in May, two weeks after winning an 11th world title in Doha.
The tournament at the Stark Arena in Belgrade was also Riner's last of the year before starting the final stretch for the home Olympics: "Normally, I finish my preparation in January, and then we'll start thinking about the calendar, see what competitions we're going to go to."
With three victories, against Uzbekistan's Alisher Yusupov, Serbia's Milos Vukicevic, and Georgia's Shalva Gureshidze, the 34-year-old three-time Olympic champion (two individual titles, one team title) reassured himself.
I feel good, but I still have to work on it. Each competition will allow me to progress, to be better," he said. For his coach Franck Chambily, "the Olympic objective is to get his bearings, because he hasn't competed much, to get his bearings and see where he is on his favourite techniques. To see the physical condition, to take stock of the situation before starting the final stretch from January."
As for his injury, "that's in the past. All the lights are green, that's why he's here," he told reporters before the fighting. In the men's competition, it was the judokas of OJK Belgrade, who defeated the Parisians in the semi-finals, who won gold. The PSG girls finished first in the competition.
We knew we could do it and this year we did, so we had fun. It's something important and it's with my friends, so it's even more fun," said Marie-Eve Gahié, European champion in the -70kg category and selected for the Games.