Tenfold World Champion and double Olympic Champion Teddy Riner from France made his comeback to the competition tatami In Montréal after a hiatus of 18 months. Notwithstanding, he made sure his return on the mat did not go by unnoticed, taking the gold at this inaugural Montréal Grand Prix.
+100kg final Riner (FRA) vs. Harasawa (JPN)

“It was no easy comeback. 18 months is a long period,” Teddy commented in the Mixed Zone. “Today I won but I competed against some fine opponents. It was no walk in the park.”

Indeed, the semi-final against Czech Lukas Krpalek was a memorable one bringing two Olympic Champions facing each other on the mat. A thriller that went into Golden Score. “It was not the first time a sparred with Lukas. I randori often with him at the Olympic Training Camps. He’s a fine judoka. I knew upfront, that it was going to be a very difficult bout against him. I’m aware there is still much work to do to reach my goals for 2020.”

A 'golden' return for Teddy Riner (FRA)

In the final Teddy Riner met Japanese Harasawa, a rematch of the Rio Olympic final in 2016. “My approach was different here,” Teddy said. “This was a tournament, not an Olympic final. Nevertheless, Harasawa is a strong opponent and he is very quick. He was eager to get those Olympic qualification points. I have another year to prepare for Tokyo 2020. In two days, I’ll start training again towards my goal in 2020.”

When asked when his next appearance will be, the champion smiled and said: “I’m back now, we will see.”

See also