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Riner hungry for more titles


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Riner hungry for more titles

At the age of 24 the towering Teddy Riner has already established himself as arguably the greatest heavyweight Judoka to grace the tatami.

The Frenchman is a six-time world champion – the first judoka to reach that feat – and last year he added Olympic gold to his long list of achievements.

Euronews caught up with the ‘Teddy Bear’ at the Sportel convention in Monaco.

euronews: How do you feel about being the only male judoka in any weight category to win six world titles?

Riner: It feels great, I’m flattered and proud because you must know there is a huge amount of work behind those titles. I want to thank my family because they pushed me to work and reach the place I am today. This is the message I want to deliver to young people. You do not become a world champion by doing nothing. You must work hard, believe in yourself, have a healthy lifestyle, respect your opponent and sport.

euronews: When you begin a competition how does it feel to be the man that everyone wants to beat?

Riner: That’s the other side of the work – to always question yourself. Every time I start a competition, I start from scratch, I am no longer the defending champion or I didn’t win the last competition. I will always look to produce something different, to do something new, by using a different skill because the same one will not work every time. You must be wise and analyse every little detail in order to win another medal.

euronews: Why do you prefer using leg techniques rather than using the shoulder?

Riner: The reason is very simple: I am so big that I cannot bend over as fast as somebody smaller than me. Therefore I need to use my legs. I am too big to use my shoulder.

euronews: Of course your skills have progressed since you first began practicing judo.

Riner: Absolutely, I have trained hard on my direction to move sideways, left-right, forwards and backwards.

euronews: Since your defeat at the world championships in Tokyo 2010 and despite many injuries, you have won everything – 50 fights since then.

Riner: You are right, this season has not been the easiest one because of my injuries. But I have won medals so I was mentally strong enough to win two titles despite all my problems.

euronews: After winning pretty much all there is to win are you still hungry for medals?

Riner: Yes, I want more, I want to win more medals and to make history in my sport.

euronews: How is it going with your political studies?

Riner: ‘‘Very good, I started my course again two weeks ago and everything is fine: I am happy and lucky to study at a great university to learn and use my brain.’‘

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