Once through the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam in Antalya (Turkey), Sunday March 31 around noon, Madeleine Malonga brandished an angry fist. From then on, it was in fact certain that the judoka would achieve a better performance than her compatriot Audrey Tcheuméo, a week earlier, at the Grand Slam in Tbilisi (Georgia). However, the two French women have been fighting for months to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in the -78 kilo category, the only one which does not yet have a designated French fighter. This Sunday, Malonga, silver medalist in Tokyo in 2021, pushed her advantage to the final, where… Alina Boehm, double European champion.

The determination of the 30-year-old Frenchwoman, licensed at Etoile sportive du Blanc-Menil (Seine-Saine-Denis), was evident from her first fight, Sunday morning. By stopping the Lithuanian Migle Julija Deudenaite, she won in 1 min 24 sec. In the next round, Malonga’s combativeness left the slender Russian Antonina Shmeleva – entered as a neutral individual athlete – without a solution (elimination in 1 min 45 sec after three faults for non-combativity).

During the quarter-final so important in his long-distance fight with Tcheumeo, Malonga crossed paths with the Portuguese Patricia Sampaio, 24 years old and 11th in the world rankings. And here again, the Frenchwoman, who is in 13th place, used her tone to send her opponent to the mat, on her back. Ippon in 45 seconds.

The decision will be up to the French federation

In the semi-final, Malonga got rid of Anna-Maria Wagner, 3rd in the world ranking in the category and bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympics. Another German, Alina Boehm, European champion in 2022 and 2023, was waiting for her in the final. And here again, thanks to extreme determination, the Frenchwoman did not go into detail. In just 42 seconds, his opponent was defeated.

We cannot be certain that Malonga has definitely won the right to represent France at the next Olympics. The decision will be up to his federation. One thing is certain, Malonga could not do anything more or better to display his (great) ambitions.