Tokyo 2020 delay gives everyone a
fair chance, says Riner
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[April 07, 2020]
PARIS (Reuters) - Double Olympic
judo champion Teddy Riner believes that staging the Tokyo Games in
2021 will put all athletes on an equal footing after the sports
extravaganza was postponed for a year due to the coronavirus
The Frenchman, a gold medallist in the men's heavyweight category at
the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, has been training at home
since the government imposed a lockdown on March 17.
"Why would some be angry (that the Olympics were delayed)? People
die. You have to give all athletes a fair chance and at that moment,
all athletes were not on equal footing," Riner, who turned 31 on
Tuesday, told French sports daily L'Equipe.
"Waiting another year is not the end of the world, we just have to
be patient. I can't see how the qualifications would have been fair
if the Games had been delayed to the autumn."
Riner, who in February suffered his first defeat in 10 years, has
been following a strict routine to stay fit.
"Two days before the lockdown I knew it was going to happen so I had
(fitness) material delivered. I set up a room above my office and I
work out twice a day - except Saturdays - without taking my foot off
the pedal," Riner said.
[to top of second column]
France Olympic and World judo champion Teddy Riner arrives at the
Elysee Palace in Paris, France, August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Gonzalo
Riner lost to Japan's Kokoro Kageura on Feb. 9 in the IJF Grand Slam
in Paris, ending a run of 152 successive victories since 2010.
"It was a good thing that it happened there and not at the Olympics.
It was a wake-up call. Clearly, I was lacking aggressiveness," he
said. "I felt my judo was good but you must remember that judo is a
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond)
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