Is the kimono of discord about to be ironed, folded, and wisely tucked away? Since February 17, when Clarisse Agbégnénou was sanctioned by the French Federation of Judo and Associated Disciplines (FFJDA) after her refusal to wear the outfit of the France team – whose sponsor is different from hers – the crisis has been brewing. at the edge of the tatamis. Taken as an example by the Olympic champion of Tokyo (in – 63 kg) for having led, six years earlier, his own battle of kimonos, Teddy Riner announced, Wednesday, April 5, that he would again wear the federal uniform (Adidas ) for future competitions. Including during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, therefore.

“The French team has always been a source of motivation, I draw energy from it and I hope to give it too”, assured Riner in the joint press release sent by the FFJA, recalling that “the Olympic title obtained by team in Tokyo is one of [his] best sporting memories. The ten-time world heavyweight champion, however, specifies that he is “aware that in terms of form, individual and collective issues can sometimes be incompatible”.

Several years ago, Teddy Riner had negotiated with the previous federal administration to be able to use in competition a kimono of his own brand, Fightart. A situation that had motivated her compatriot Clarisse Agbégnénou, who had chosen to wear her personal equipment supplier (Mizuno) on the occasion of her return to individual competition, at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, in mid-February. A decision sanctioned by the FFJA, which had then deprived her of a coach for the tournament, finished in 7th place.

This controversy has brought to the fore a discipline where sponsors’ money does not flow freely, and where athletes – even reigning Olympic champions – sometimes struggle to finance themselves. In their press release announcing the return to the fold of the triple Olympic champion, Teddy Riner and the federation note that it is “not easy to preserve individual and collective interests, in particular with the approach of the 2024 Games” but insist on the “principle of solidarity with young people”, who wear the federal kimono.

With this return to the fold of the figurehead of tricolor judo, Clarisse Agbégnénou will no longer be able to live as an injustice the difference in treatment between the different athletes – which the FFJA recognized. “We had a form problem to solve and we did it in the best conditions, welcomed Stéphane Nomis, the president of the federation, in the press release. I thank [Teddy Riner] for coming back on the achievements. “In full negotiations with the Olympic champion of Tokyo for several weeks so that she returns to the official jersey, the federation obtains a reinforcement of weight, Wednesday.

“Reflections are being carried out and must continue to be carried out on the status of the non-professional athlete because the sports economy is constantly changing and Paris 2024 is undoubtedly an accelerator, a revealer of situations that are still poorly identified”, said concluded Teddy Riner.