Sixth title of world judo champion for Clarisse Agbégnénou. The judoka who is coming back from injury did not expect this faultless course, only ten months after her maternity.
“I have wings, there, I’m very happy“, reacted on Wednesday May 9 on franceinfo Clarisse Agbégnénou after winning a sixth title of world judo champion in Doha, in the -63 kg category. “I never expected such a day“, she assured, ten months after giving birth to her baby girl. “Looking at me, I said to myself ‘whaou, I am impressed‘”, she confided, assuming to have “the feeling of doing incredible things“.
>>> Judo Worlds 2023: Clarisse Agbégnénou crowned for the sixth time in her career at -63 kg
franceinfo: You have won your sixth world championship title. How’s it going ?
Clarisse Agbegnenou: I’m tired but I’m doing very, very well. I never expected such a day. I have wings here. I am very happy. I think when I go find Athena [ndlr : sa fille de dix mois], I’m going to be tired. I gave her up so much today, poor thing. I will be able to put the medal around his neck.
This flawless performance that you achieved throughout the day, how do you explain it?
I know we still lacked a lot of practice. I didn’t expect to come here and win a gold medal. I knew I could snag a medal but gold seemed a bit daring. I said to myself ”stay focused, take your time‘, and the more I advanced in this day, the more I said to myself ”ah, i can really have it, this gold medal”. The final fight was tough because I know my opponent wanted that medal too. She was really pissed off, she didn’t give up.
Less than a year after the birth of your daughter, who is by your side, it’s your big comeback, and what a comeback! Do you take your child to the warm-up room?
This is my ”Petit koala”. I can only thank the international federation for having granted me this right to have my little girl with me, whom I am still breastfeeding on demand. I am happy to show that things are not easy but possible. A woman’s body is exceptional, I must say. I want to say : “Women, give yourself the means“.
Your recovery has not been easy, with a knee injury in particular. What memory do you keep?
It was very hard and it still is. It’s true that at the beginning, after pregnancy, we feel that we have a body that has totally changed. I am no longer the same woman as during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. You have to learn to work with them, to meet these needs. There, it’s starting to come back and I’m not going to let go.
Do you feel like you are opening the door to others?
I feel like I’m doing amazing things. Looking at me, I said to myself ‘Wow, I’m impressed“. I try to unfold myself saying to myself ”I don’t know who you are, Clarisse, but you are”. If I have to be a messenger to tell little girls and boys to show that there are things that can be done when you believe in them, then I take the lead.
During these last months, there was also the conflict with the French federation on the history of the kimono. It’s forgotten ?
I wouldn’t say it’s forgotten. I’m not a revenge but it was very hard. There were times when I thought to myself “If you don’t believe in me, just let me do what I want“. It’s not forgotten because it really hurt me. However, I proved that when you leave me alone for a bit, it can do it.
And now ? What is the program for the preparation of the Paris Games?
First, I’m going to need a little rest. Behind, I will continue to train hard. There are things that I miss a little. It will be a long road to get to the end of the tunnel.