Tokyo Olympics 2021

Olympics Day 4: France's Agbégnénou on the trail of gold, Japan’s Osaka crashes out

Clarisse Agbégnénou (in white) during her -63 kg semi-final against Canada's Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard at the Tokyo Games, 27 July 2021.
Clarisse Agbégnénou (in white) during her -63 kg semi-final against Canada's Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard at the Tokyo Games, 27 July 2021. Jack GUEZ AFP

Clarisse Agbégnénou, flag bearer for the French delegation at the Tokyo Olympics, qualified on Tuesday for the final of the judo tournament in the -63kg category and is now assured of a gold or silver medal, which will be the fourth for French judo and the sixth for Les Bleus.


To secure her ticket to the final, the French world number one dominated the Canadian Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard by waza-ari. In the final, Agbégnénou will face Slovenia's Tina Trstenjak, who had beaten her in the final of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Five-time world champion, five-time European champion, Agbégnénou has been waiting for five years since her disappointment in Rio to take her revenge and obtain the Olympic title that would crown her breathtaking record. The fact that the final is against Trstenjak, who also deprived her of the gold medal at the 2015 World Championships, gives a special meaning to the upcoming clash.

Before beating Beauchemin-Pinard, Agbégnénou (28) had advanced smoothly through the draw. She started her tournament with a quick win over Cape Verde's Sandrine Billiet, defeated by ippon in 19 seconds.

In the quarter-finals, the Frenchwoman had a slightly tougher opponent in the Dutch Juul Franssen, twice bronze medallist at the world championships and once at the European championships.

French judo has already won three medals since the beginning of these Games, bronze on Saturday for Luka Mkheidze in the -60kg category and silver on Sunday and Monday for Amandine Buchard in the -52kg category and Sarah-Léonie Cysique in the -57kg category.

French women's basketball move forward

Elsewhere, the French women's 3x3 basketball team finished its group phase with an easy fourth victory, at the expense of Romania (22-12), and is now waiting to find out its opponent in the qualifying play-off for the semi-finals today at the Tokyo Games.

Les Bleues will play for a place in the last four. They will face either Japan or Russia, depending on the result of the latter's final group match against Italy.

In the meantime, they recorded their third straight win in the Olympic tournament, the fourth in seven games, giving the impression that they were in much better control of their basketball than at the start of the competition.

As the previous evening against the Russians, whom they beat with authority (17-14), the French showed that they are really coming into their own in the match against the Romanians who never worried them on the court of the Aomi Urban Sports Park.

Osaka crashes out

Meanwhile, Japanese star Naomi Osaka crashed out of the Tokyo Olympics tennis competition on Tuesday as Brazil's Italo Ferreira and America's Carissa Moore claimed the first-ever gold medals in surfing.

Osaka, who lit the Olympic cauldron in the opening ceremony, lost 6-1, 6-4 to Marketa Vondrousova after an error-strewn performance, ending her cherished dream of winning on home soil.

 The 23-year-old -- one of the faces of the Tokyo Games -- had not played since May, when she walked out of the French Open saying media commitments were harming her mental health.

 The second seed will be bitterly disappointed at missing out on a chance of Olympic gold, especially after the early exits of world number one Ashleigh Barty and third seed Aryna Sabalenka.

"How disappointed am I? I mean, I'm disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others," said the four-time Grand Slam-winner.

 Asked what went wrong, she replied: "Everything -- if you watch the match then you would probably see. I feel like there's a lot of things that I counted on that I couldn't rely on today."

Surf's up!

 In the men's surfing competition Ferreira, who learned his trade standing on the foam box his father sold fish from, snapped his board on the first wave and had to wait in the sea for a replacement.

But he recovered to score 15.14 to Japanese opponent Kanoa Igarashi's 6.60 at Tsurigasaki Beach, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Tokyo.

 "It's one of the best days of my life for sure," said the Brazilian. "I was so nervous at the beginning but I just tried to surf and have fun because two months ago I was busy with training and thinking and dreaming and now I've got the gold medal."

 US surfer Carissa Moore beat South Africa's Bianca Buitendag in the women's final.

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