The Judo Pro League resumes on Tuesday, September 12. Thirteen teams are vying to win the second edition of the competition at a grand Final Four to be held at the Paris Dojo on December 16. As the start of the new season approaches, we bring you a complete team review. Discover each day the teams that make up the four groups in the group stages.
Thursday, September 7 : Presentation of Poule A teams
Friday, September 8 : Presentation of Poule B teams
Saturday, September 9: Presentation of Poule C teams
Sunday, September 10: Presentation of Poule D teams
Montpellier Judo Olympic
"Moms and dads" is how the directors of the Hérault club describe themselves, as they provide athletes with both sporting and personal support. "In a priority urban district, we get a lot of parents with large families, where everyone does judo," observes president Christel Lavaud. It's not unusual for the father to be a volunteer, and the mother a self-defense instructor.
At Montpellier, all categories are treated equally: for the last two years, six out of six teams have qualified for the French first division championships. Jolan Florimont, a French champion who has been with the club since he was a child, is the embodiment of this success story. "At least 30% of our youngsters go on to achieve their black belt," adds Christel Lavaud.
The Judo Pro League is "a fantastic springboard" for making a name for yourself in a city with a strong presence in top-level sport. "Thanks to this competition, which is much appreciated by local authorities, we're better regarded. The Nicollin group, which presides over the destiny of the Montpellier Hérault Sport Club footballers, has joined the adventure. "For people who don't know judo, it's an innovative and very attractive format, excellent visually, with short durations, a nice reception for our VIPs, so a nice party and a moment of sharing", enthuses the president, who continues to think local and proudly cites the gold label received in June 2023 by the Montpellier club.
Judo Nice Metropole
Founded for the first edition of the Pro League, Judo Nice Métropole was born of the merger between Nice Judo Alliance and Olympic Nice Judo, "two rival clubs that were doing well and didn't like each other very much", agrees Mohamed Otmane, director of the latter for some ten years before taking over the presidency of the newborn. And with good fortune, since his fighters reached the final last December.
For the manager, this new competition is "the advent of a sporting project to ensure that our kids don't leave the region". In Nice, "there's a very strong sense of belonging", embodied by a dialect, Nissart, and a symbol, the eagle. This is reflected in the fervent encouragement of the young people at the "Pôle Espoir". "It's the reward for the daily training work carried out throughout the region," explains Mohamed Otmane, who happily includes the neighboring Monaco Judo Club. Indeed, the father of Luca Otmane (PSG) cites the world medals won by Loïc Piétri, son of Monaco's technical director, among his fondest memories. Just like Sofiane Milous' fifth place at the London Olympics, or Maxime Gobert's gold medal at the European Junior Championships in 2021.
Proud to be "a local club" with a 100% team from Nice, Mohamed Otmane hopes to bring further thrills to the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes, alongside footballers from OGC Nice, volleyball and women's basketball.
ES Blanc-Mesnil Judo
For forty years, Etoile Sportive has been the flagship sports club of Blanc-Mesnil, a town of 55,000 inhabitants in the north of Seine-Saint-Denis. "Our ambition is to maintain our position at the highest level," sums up Karim Boumedjane, the club's president for the past seven years. Boumedjane, who made his name with the French national team alongside David Douillet, cites the names of the "charismatic" coaches who have taken it in turns to achieve this. The senior team is now coached by Jean-Pierre Gibert and Mathias Boucher, who provide individual support to complement the work carried out at Insep.
With almost 700 members, L'Etoile is one of the top clubs in France, despite the strong competition in the Paris region. The club appreciates the visibility given by the first edition of the Pro League and is hoping for an Olympic effect in a few months' time, as Paris 2024 will take place largely in the département. "For young judokas, this exceptional event is bound to resonate," anticipates Karim Boumedjane.
And why not attract the champions of tomorrow, those who will one day emulate the exploits of Madeleine Malonga, Olympic runner-up and world champion.