Judoka Luka Mkheidze brought France their first medal at the Tokyo Olympics this Saturday, weighing less than 60kg. At the microphone of RMC, the bronze medalist savored this great reward after a journey strewn with pitfalls.
We did not necessarily expect to see Luka Mkheidze on the podium of the Tokyo Olympics. But the Frenchman took a superb bronze medal in the under 60kg judo tournament. Born in Georgia and passed through a refugee camp, the 25-year-old fighter brought his first medal to France this summer after a dream day.
“I am very, very proud. I still can not realize that I did it, that I achieved this feat, exulted Luka Mkheidze at the microphone of RMC Sport. Since I was very little, I think at that time. I’m here today and I managed to get this beautiful bronze medal. The course that I had in my life, every day, made me want to fight. That’s also why I’m here today. I fought and never let go. “
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Mkheidze: “After the semi-final, I was burnt out”
Reigning European vice-champion, Luka Mkheidze first offered the scalp of the Spaniard who had beaten him for gold last April. Then winner of Ukrainian Artem Lesiuk, the Frenchman finally gave in in the semi-finals against Taiwanese Yung Wei Yang after more than five minutes of Golden Score. A duel that left traces but did not break the great desire of the tricolor judoka.
“After the semi-final, I was burnt out. I told my coach. I said ‘I’m burnt out’. I was wondering how I was going to get this bronze medal. But behind, All the French fans, the staff and my coaches all came and encouraged me. Frankly, it gave me a boost and it gave me a lot of strength. It’s done, I won this bronze medal. “
Thierry Rey salutes a “conqueror”
Bronze medalist for his first participation in the Olympic Games, Luka Mkheidze became the first Frenchman to return from the Olympics with a medal in the under 60kg category since Thierry Rey gold in Moscow in 1980. His illustrious elder has no elsewhere not failed to greet him his heir.
“It’s beautiful! He was a conqueror, he fought to the end, it’s nice to see this boy with this incredible story, he explained on the air at RMC. It’s the French judo which formed him. It is the French formation, his conquering values which allowed him to win this bronze medal. It is extraordinary. He was absolutely not favorite, it is a good signal. C is a very nice surprise, with values. He dared everything, tried everything. “
First French medalist in Tokyo, Luka Mkheidze will be able to savor with his relatives on his return to France in the coming days. Before that, the Habs will benefit from a hard-won podium.
“Frankly, when I go to INSEP, I wanted to have my photo hung (with the Olympic judo champions, editor’s note). Even if I won’t have my photo, I’m still very, very proud . I have no regrets and I am very happy with my third place and my bronze medal. “