The first “Champions League” in the history of Paris Saint-Germain was ultimately won neither by the footballers nor by the handball players. It was the judokas from the women’s section of the Parisian club who won this continental title, Saturday December 9, during the Champions League played at the Stark Arena in Belgrade (Serbia). In the final, the Parisiennes easily won against another French club, JC Pontault-Combault (3-0).
This day of European competition has long been marked in the PSG judo calendar, both for women and men. The capital club therefore brought out the heavy artillery in Serbia, with 19 athletes including several Olympic medalists and notably Teddy Riner. The latter had displayed the ambitions of the Parisian delegation The team Friday : “We want, a little, to challenge football and handball by being the first PSG section to win the Champions League. »
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The objective was therefore achieved, but not by men. Returning to competition seven months after his eleventh world champion title, and seven months before the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Teddy Riner won his three fights of the day, including that of the semi-final. But his teammates lost to opponents from local club OJK Belgrade, who won gold. The Parisians finally won bronze against the Georgians of Golden Gori.
It was late in the afternoon, a few minutes before the women’s coronation. After beating the Turks of Galatasaray in the semi-final, Priscilla Gneto (-57 kg), Lucy Renshall (-63 kg) and Marie-Eve Gahié (-70 kg) made short work of their JC opponents Pontault-Combault in the final. This European success confirms PSG’s investments in its judo section, reformed in 2017 after a first decade of existence between 1992 and 2002.
Three French clubs on the women’s podium
All Parisian judokas are salaried, which is not the case in all judo clubs. “At PSG, there is quality, we work on details, we have high-level training partners, that makes us want to raise our level”assured Amandine Buchard of The team Friday. The Olympic vice-champion at the Tokyo 2021 Games (-52 kg) was present in Belgrade with PSG but did not have to compete in the final, just like the bronze medalist in Japan Romane Dicko (+78 kg).
“We knew we could do it and this year we did it, so we had a lot of fun.” It’s something important and it’s between friends so it’s even more fun”» declared after the final Marie-Eve Gahié, European champion in the -70 kg category and selected for the Games.
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This Women’s Champions League was dominated by French judo: JC Pontault-Combault therefore finished with the silver medal while RSC Champigny won the bronze medal. She therefore mainly smiled at PSG, who had already won the competition when it was called the European Club Cup, in 1995, with David Douillet in particular. PSG also won the Europa League, Europe’s second tier, in both the men’s and women’s categories, in 2021.
The first Parisian Champions League in history is therefore women’s and won on tatamis. While waiting to see if their footballer and handball counterparts will manage to imitate them, the Parisiennes will now continue their preparation for the Paris 2024 Games. Just like Teddy Riner, who will do two courses in the coming weeks, in Brazil and then in Kazakhstan.